Disability Resource Centre,
Poynters House, Poynters Road, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU5 4TP


01582 709066

Community Eating Disorder Service (Bedfordshire and Luton)

Who we are

Our vision is to support people to a life worth living and improved health for people in our population, via reduced eating disorder symptoms and distress, and improved functioning and safety.

The aim of the Community Eating Disorders Service (CEDS) is to work with service users whose difficulties are at the moderate to severe range of presenting concerns. In this sense, we are a specialist service.

We aim to provide assessment, support and therapy to service users and to their families and carers following NICE guidelines.

Our service users will meet the criteria for an eating disorder as defined by both ICD10 and DSM V.

We also provide consultation and advice to other services and GPs. We work in partnership with Caraline our local eating disorder charity and may refer service users for support to Caraline. If you would like to contact the service via email, please contact

When worries about your food, shape and weight get to the point where they affect your behaviour and everyday life, this can be indicative of an eating disorder.

Eating disorders can take many forms and so there are a number of indicators. These may include restricting food intake, excessive eating (bingeing), self-induced vomiting, laxative usage, excessive exercise, worries about body shape and weight, etc.

Whilst eating disorders can appear to be about food and weight, there are often other contributing factors that can lead to a person having an eating disorder, and these can differ greatly from person to person.

Often, eating disorders can give a sense of control when other areas of your life seem out of control. However, they can also be very difficult to manage in your everyday life.

If you think that you might have an eating disorder, the most important step forward to take is acknowledging that you may have a problem, as there is help available to you.

If you struggle with food and eating, first approach your GP who can make a referral to our service.

We take referrals from GPs, CMHTs, IAPT services and from other statutory and non-statutory services.

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept self-referrals at the moment as we work in partnership with your GP to look after your physical health.

We can help people with symptoms of:

• Anorexia Nervosa (AN)

• Bulimia Nervosa (BN)

• Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Unfortunately, we currently are not able to offer treatment for Restrictive Avoidant Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) but we may support with information about this disorder.

We work with adults aged between 18-65 who have a registered Luton or Bedfordshire GP, and meet the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder.

We offer a number of treatments. Most clients will receive psychological therapy or monitoring & support in line with the NICE guidelines. In addition, you may receive dietetic support or psychiatric reviews depending on your circumstances.

Psychological Therapy

Once a therapist becomes available, they will invite you to your first therapy appointment. During this appointment, we will decide together on a treatment approach. Your therapist will discuss the available options with you. These include the nationally recommended forms of psychological therapy for eating disorders: The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend offering one of four different psychological therapies for the treatment of Eating Disorder.

  • For Eating Disorders such as Binge Eating Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa and other similar eating disorders, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is recommended.
  • For Anorexia Nervosa and similar eating disorders there is no evidence available at the moment to indicate which of the four types of therapy works best, so it is recommended the therapy options are explained and discussed to see which therapy is most suitable.

Usually, we will start with 6-8 sessions of psychological therapy and review this once we have completed these sessions.

We will arrange a regular appointment, which will normally be on the same day at the same time each week and last 50 minutes unless otherwise agreed. In order for psychological treatment to be helpful, it is important to have regular sessions.

Where are countywide service and offer treatment in a number of locations. You may wish to wait for location closer to home then is offered or available, and your treatment will not be affected by this choice.

Dietitian Support

As part of your treatment, we will discuss with you whether you might benefit from dietitian support. If we decided together that this would be useful, our dietitian will offer you an initial appointment. This will last approximately 1 hour (with shorter 30-45 minute follow up appointments if required).

As part of the team, the dietitian will be aware of your goals and progress with therapy. The dietitian will work with you to help you understand and manage any physical symptoms, concerns or medical diagnoses you may have which impact your nutritional intake. The dietitian provides evidence-based advice and information and will identify any potential dietary deficiencies, will work with you to make an individualised eating plan to lessen any risks, and may work with you to expand and normalise nutritional intake. The dietitian will also support you to stay motivated throughout therapy to achieve your goals.

Psychiatric reviews

Depending on your needs we might also decide together to make an appointment with the team psychiatrist, who will see you on her own or with another member of the team, depending upon your needs at the time.

The role of the psychiatrist is to assess medical and psychiatric risk , offer clinical opinion about any comorbidities, and advice regarding further management including medication, physical health monitoring and risk management

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Eating Disorders

CBT targets the thoughts, feelings, physiology and behaviours, which keep eating disorders going. With your therapist, you will explore what is keeping your eating difficulties going and work together to gradually change these. You will be required to record what you are eating each day along with changes in thoughts and feelings. Each week you will look at these records together and collaboratively monitor your weight. With help from your therapist, you will identify and plan how to change your eating to erode the eating disorder. Together you will tackle the thoughts, feelings and situations, which make change hard. This may include how to reduce body image concerns, how to manage negative thoughts and how to develop non eating disorder interests. In CBT an emphasis is given to developing new skills and knowledge that can be used between therapy sessions and once therapy has finished. This means at each session you will agree to complete certain tasks between sessions. These could include reading information, keeping records, practicing a skill or trying out a new way of doing something and recording the outcome.

There are typically three main stages in the therapy; in the first stage you will collect and evaluate information to help draw up your personalised diagram of what is keeping your difficulties going and decide goals for therapy. In the middle stage you will be working on making changes and in the last stage you will be working on how you maintain the changes you have made. CBT-ED typically consists of 20 sessions but may be extended in certain circumstances. Early in therapy you will discuss whether to involve significant others and plan how to do this if appropriate.

The Maudsley Model of Anorexia Treatment for Adults (MANTRA)

This therapy helps you and your therapist gain a clearer understanding of how and why your eating difficulties began and why they keep going. It helps you consider how your relationships with others, your thinking style and your ways of coping with emotions are related to eating difficulties. With this greater understanding you and your therapist will look at ways to make changes to help you break away from anorexia.

At the start of therapy, you will be given a workbook and you and your therapist will decide which exercises to look at during the sessions and in between sessions. The exercises are designed to help you gain better understanding of the difficulties and develop new ways of responding. During the therapy you will be encouraged to involve others, if appropriate, and think about ways you can draw on the help and support from those around you.

MANTRA typically consists of 20 weekly sessions but may be extended in certain circumstances. The therapy progresses through an Early, Mid and End phase. In the Early phase you start get to know MANTRA, consider your reasons for wanting to change, start thinking about using support around you and take stock of your nutritional needs. After this, in the first part of the Mid phase, you will draw together an understanding of how and why your eating problems started and why they keep going. Using this diagram, through the rest of the Mid phase, you will work on tackling each of the factors involved in keeping anorexia going, these could be thinking styles, emotion management, interpersonal relating and/or others. In the end phase, more focus is given to developing a non-eating disorder identity and moving forward.

Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM) for Anorexia

SSCM combines clinical management, like giving information, advice and encouragement with a supportive therapeutic style. The aim of the therapy is to help you recognise the impact of your eating difficulties and support you to make a gradual return to normal eating and weight. At the start of each session, you and your therapist will discuss your eating difficulties and the changes you are trying to make. Once this part of the session is complete you will be invited to use the rest of the session to talk about what’s on your mind. In some sessions, you might choose to discuss your relationship with food, eating and weight or you might choose to talk about more general areas of life, it will be up to you. Your therapist will use counselling skills to listen, reflect and offer support across whatever topics you choose to bring.

SSCM typically consists of 20 weekly sessions and has three phases. In phase 1 your therapist will introduce you to SSCM and together you will identify target symptoms and set goals around eating and weight restoration. In phase 2 together with your therapist, you will monitor your target symptoms, work on normalising eating and address any other issues you bring. In the final phase, you prepare to end therapy and draw up a plan for maintaining changes.

Focal Psychodynamic Therapy

In this therapy, you and your therapist will be considering what the symptoms of anorexia mean for you, how they affect you and how they influence your relationships with others. There are three phases. In the first phase, you will be building a therapeutic relationship, addressing pro-anorexic behaviours and beliefs and building self-esteem. In the second phase, you will look at relevant relationships with other people and how these affect eating behaviour. In the final phase, the therapy will focus on transferring the therapy experience to situations in everyday life and address any concerns you have about what will happen when treatment ends. Focal Psychodynamic Therapy is offered for 40 sessions over 40 weeks.

Medical Monitoring

Eating disorders can lead to a number of physical health issues. You may need physical monitoring from your GP as an essential part of your care alongside therapy from our psychology led team. This will be needed when you are referred to our service, and after that as frequently as your GP advises. What is needed depends on your situation but some examples might be blood tests, pulse/blood pressure etc. We are a psychological therapy led service, therefore GPs will remain medically responsible for clients open to us and provide regular monitoring of their physical health throughout the course of their treatment with us.

Inpatient Admissions

Specialist eating disorder inpatient admissions are usually considered when a person reaches a high level of physical risk that cannot be treated safely by outpatient services and sometimes when the issues are so severe they cannot be addressed without more intensive support. These are considered on an individual basis according to your circumstances and are fully discussed with you by your therapist if the need arises. They are not very common; most people we see have outpatient treatment. In the event of an eating disorder unit becoming necessary we make the referrals, keep in touch during admission and will offer support after discharge. The service fulfils a gate keeping role, referring service users for inpatient admissions to Specialist Eating Disorder Units which are commissioned by the East of England Specialised Commissioning Group (SCG). Whilst a service user is an inpatient in a specialist EDU, the staff team will aim to attend an early Care Plan Approach (CPA) meeting and one CPA meeting near discharge, in order to participate in care planning to facilitate transition between inpatient and outpatient care.

Beat Eating Disorders Charity Helplines & Online Resources

The Centre for Clinical Interventions in Australia has some helpful workbooks and resources on the topic of disordered eating and other mental health difficulties:

Disability Resource Centre, LU5 4TP

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Eating Disorders

Clinical speciality:

Adult Mental Health Service

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