Guided self-help of bulimia nervosa in a specialist setting: a pilot study

Eat Weight Disord. 1997 Sep;2(3):169-72. doi: 10.1007/BF03339970.


Seventeen patients meeting the DSM-IV criteria for bulimia nervosa were treated in a specialist setting according to the "guided self-help" approach as outlined in the self-help handbook "Overcoming Binge Eating" by Fairburn. This self-help manual is essentially a condensed version of the cognitive-behavioural therapy for bulimia nervosa developed by the same author. Every patient took part in 8 bimonthly sessions each lasting 20 minutes. All subjects were evaluated both before and after the treatment through a semi-structured interview. Overall, 10 patients (58.8%) did well; 6 of these 10 patients (35.3%) stopped binge-eating and vomiting altogether. Although the conclusions arising from this pilot study have yet to be confirmed by a controlled study, the preliminary findings seem to suggest that "guided self-help" in a specialist setting could, indeed, be not only sufficient in some cases but may also be the most accessible approach in treating many patients affected by bulimia nervosa.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bulimia / psychology
  • Bulimia / therapy*
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Self-Help Groups*