Treatment for eating disorders

Treatment information

The local eating disorder specialist service The Phoenix Wing is based at St Ann’s Hospital in Tottenham. GP or mental health professionals can refer. Staff there include Consultant Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists, Analytic, Psychodynamic and Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists (long waiting list), Occupational Therapy, Dietician, Group Therapists, Specialist nursing, Liaison nurses. Admission (dedicated beds in own unit, individual bedrooms) is only for the most severe life threatening anorexia/bulimia. Well staffed Out patient, Day Care and Rehabilitation service. The service has a wide catchment area so waiting lists can vary.

Who we are

The Phoenix Wing St Ann’s Eating Disorders Service provides a comprehensive, specialist service to the North, Central and North East London Sectors and surrounding counties of North Essex and South Essex. The service is also a national provider of specialist eating disorder inpatient treatment.

What we offer

The Phoenix Wing and Russell Unit at St Ann’s hospital, which provides:

Out-patient and specialist in-patient care, including rehabilitation, day care and community liaison service.

Who is the service for

People aged 18 years and above suffering with a primary diagnosis of an eating disorder: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Atypical Eating Disorder.

How you can access our service

We accept referrals of patients who have a primary diagnosis of an eating disorder:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Binge Eating Disorder
  • EDNOS (atypical eating disorder)
  • Comprehensive Assessment of and recommendations for treatment of obesity. (the service will assess for a diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder if this is not present the patient is discharged back to the referrer)

Tel: 020 8702 6240

Dr Eric Johnson-Sabine  Clinical Lead, Consultant Psychiatrist

Treatment for eating disorders in generally talking therapy based in a confidential setting. Although medication may be used additionally. It is important to get a good skilled psychiatric assessment if you have never had one. This is available from the eating disorders service at St Ann’s Hospital. 

Group and individual therapies have been tried and tested for many years.

The most popular treatments with a good evidence base (meaning they have been shown to work) are

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which looks at your behaviour, your triggers (ie do certain triggers make bingeing more likely or turn you away from food) and what goals you would like to achieve. ie to be able to eat three meals a day without dysfunctional food behaviour.  This is broken down into small chunks so meal planning is looked at and how to manage difficult situations  and then you work through strategies to help you achieve your goals. It is very behaviour focussed.  CBT can be in group or individual work. CBT is also especially good for anxiety disorders, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder. For more complex difficulties usually a psychologist with higher level CBT training would be a good idea. However waiting lists are extremely long and sessions limited.  Privately it is expensive from £50-£100 an hour.  Always find someone registered with the British Psychological Society or British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy. Do not be afraid to ask about higher level training. 

Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

This is a type of therapy which looks at your past life and to certain times in your life that have impacted on your behaviour, emotions, relationships and other aspects of your life.  The link between what has happened for example to you as a child  and how it impacts on you in later life is well known. IN this type of therapy this would be explored and help you explore finding  a resolution within yourself after experiencing trauma/difficult experiences and how your life can move forwards.  Again this therapy can be in individual and group form. It is usual for this treatment to last a year or more to allow time to work through complex emotional issues. 


Counselling is short or long term. It focuses on issues that are troubling you like behavioural problems such as food issues, drinking, poor relationships, bereavement and helps you find better ways of coping with life  plus also allows you the space to talk through emotional distress in a safe confidential setting. Although it may seem  similar to psychodynamic work it does not tend to go in depth looking at childhood trauma/complex trauma.

Mentalization Based Treatment

Dialetical Behavioural Therapy

Counselling Psychology