Bulimia-nervosa-focused family therapy (FT-BN)

Strong evidence – there is lots of high-quality evidence that some young people find this treatment option helpful.

Bulimia nervosa-focused family therapy (FT-BN) usually involves 20 sessions over 6 months, with the exact number of sessions depending on what you need. FT-BN mainly involves you and your parents or carers, but your therapist might also meet with your siblings if they are affected by the eating disorder too.

FT-BN involves three stages:

  1. In the first stage, your parents or carers will be supported to help you re-establish healthy eating patterns and stop the binge eating and purging episodes. This means that your parents or carers will offer you more support and supervision around meal times and at other times when you feel at risk of bingeing or purging. Your therapist will discuss how to manage this with you and your parents or carers.
  2. In the second stage, once you have more control over your eating then your parents or carers will be encouraged to give you more independence. Your therapist will also plan this transition with you and your parents or carers.
  3. The third stage involves planning how you can maintain your healthy eating once the therapy ends. This would usually involve both you and your parents or carers.

The main focus of FT-BN will be to manage your eating disorder, but towards the end of the treatment your professional will probably also talk with you about how to manage any other things that might make your recovery more difficult.

Treatments outlined on these webpages may not be available in every local area. It’s important that you discuss with your GP or mental health professional the treatment options available to you. You can also search for services near you on our Youth Wellbeing Directory and find out more about referral processes here.

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