Treatment for Eating Disorders in Bellevue, WA

Cadence Child & Adolescent Therapy specializes in eating disorders. Based in Bellevue and serving the Greater Seattle area, Cadence provides therapy and support for those struggling with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and other food and body related challenges. If you are working to identify an eating disorder program for yourself or your child, please contact us at (425) 658-3200 or use our contact form to get in touch.

Help with Eating Disorders at Cadence

We know that families seeking treatment for eating disorders are often scared and overwhelmed. They may find themselves with questions like:

  • Why did my child develop an eating disorder?
  • Is it my fault?
  • What can we do to help?

Our team of child & adolescent psychologists here in Bellevue, WA will support your family with compassion, guidance, and state-of-the-art eating disorder treatment options based on scientific research. Treatment plans may include a combination of individual therapy, skills groups, and nutrition services. As part of an interdisciplinary clinic, we are able to take on complex cases and engage expertise across our DBT and Anxiety & OCD programs to target co-occurring diagnoses.

Treatment Options

What is CBT? Through CBT, we learn the skills to identify destructive thought patterns and change our emotional responses. In a departure from talk therapy, CBT involves homework and active practice to develop new behavior patterns.

What does the research say? CBT is backed by over 60 years of research. A meta-analysis of 269 studies shows that CBT is effective in treating a wide range of conditions, including anxiety, depression and OCD, among others (Source: National Institute of Health).

What does treatment look like? Weekly individual therapy session and phone coaching access between sessions.

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What is DBT? DBT is a type of therapy under the umbrella of CBT. Through DBT, we learn the core skills of Mindfulness, Tolerating Distress, Emotional Regulation and Interpersonal Effectiveness . Whereas CBT is highly goal focused, DBT embraces Zen principles of living in the moment and walking the Middle Path.

What does the research say? Randomized clinical trials show DBT in an outpatient setting is the most effective treatment to reduce self-harm and suicidal thoughts and behaviors in adolescents. Given the intensive nature of the program, DBT is also effective for those with a history of failed treatments or multiple diagnoses. (Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

What does treatment look like? Weekly individual therapy session, weekly 2-hr group with client and caregiver to learn and practice skills, and 24/7 access to phone coaching support. Minimum commitment of 6 months.

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What is FBT? FBT is a leading treatment for treating adolescent eating disorders in an outpatient setting. In a departure from traditional treatments that frame the family as the primary cause of the eating disorder, FBT views parents as an essential resource to heal. FBT does not focus on why the eating disorder developed; FBT focuses on how to move forward and empower parents as part of the treatment plan.

What does the research say? In a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing FBT with individual treatments in adolescents with eating disorders, FBT is the most effective over 6-12 months (Source: National Eating Disorders Association).

What does treatment look like? Weekly therapy session with child and caregiver. Commitment of 6+ months.

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Parent Training for Kids (Age 5-9): We hear parents asking how to deal with their child's temper tantrums, how to deal with emotional outbursts after the word 'NO,' how to transition activities (particularly those with children on the autism spectrum).

We are offering the Incredible Years program to solve this need. Supported by over 30 years of research, Incredible Years is a 4 month program with weekly 2-hr groups for parents to learn and practice skills they can apply in the home to increase compliance.

Parent Training for Teens (Age 13 +): We hear parents that are burnt-out from dealing with hostility, defiance, emotional volatility or apathy with their teen. We are offering a 1 month booster for parents to learn some DBT skills alongside other parents in the same journey.

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Meet the Eating Disorders Team

Meet the Team

Eating Disorder Therapy and Treatment

Our primary approach to treating eating disorders is a therapy modality known as Family Based Treatment or FBT (sometimes referred to as the Maudsley approach to treating adolescents with eating disorders). Research shows that FBT is the most effective treatment path for adolescent eating disorders in an outpatient setting.

While traditional eating disorder treatments often focus on the family’s role in causing the eating disorder, studies show that eating disorders have a strong biological component. Genetic predisposition to anxiety, perfectionism, and obsessive traits can play a role in developing eating disorders. As a result, FBT does not focus on why the eating disorder developed or who is to blame, and instead focuses on how to move forward.

Nutrition and weight restoration are viewed as a critical first step in recovery. FBT maintains that adolescents suffering from an eating disorder are not in control of their eating behavior, so parents must take control over their child’s eating. Parents may be paralyzed with guilt or uncertainty around how to effectively support their child’s eating in the context of a child who is low weight, failing to gain weight at the rate normal to their development, or is engaging in extreme measures for managing weight. FBT equips parents to move through indecision and, alongside the support of an eating disorder therapist, serve as the child’s best resource to overcome their disordered eating. Parents learn to separate the illness from the patient and take action against the eating disorder rather than their child.

As parents focus on feeding their child, the child is freed from the control of the eating disorder. Once the eating disorder is under control, parents return control over eating back to their child and encourage age appropriate independence and autonomy over eating practices. Once the child’s weight has been restored, an eating disorder therapist will address any other mental health conditions that may co-occur with the eating disorder. FBT is a time-limited treatment and as such, teaches relapse prevention strategies to allow children to graduate from eating disorder treatment. A summary of the 3 phases of FBT is below:


Weight restoration
  • Sessions 1-10
  • Parents in charge of weight restoration


Transitioning control of eating back to the adolescent
  • Sessions 11-15
  • Parents hand control over eating back to the adolescent


Adolescent issue and termination
  • Sessions 16-18
  • Discuss aolescent developmental issue

Our goal at Cadence Child & Adolescent Therapy is to achieve recovery and prevent future relapse while also graduating clients out of treatment in a timely manner. The duration of treatment depends on severity of eating disorder and comorbidities, medical stability, weight restoration goals, and family factors.

Additional Eating Disorder Treatments at Cadence

While FBT is the leading treatment for adolescent eating disorders, it does not work for everyone. For patients and families who do not respond to FBT, we integrate other forms of evidence-based treatment, such as dialectical behavior therapy or “DBT”. DBT teaches coping skills for unwanted emotions that help clients avoid self-destructive behaviors to control their emotions.

Since every eating disorder is different and may reflect varying degrees of emotional regulation, be it too little or too much impulse control, our eating disorder therapists will make an assessment to ensure intervention is tailored to the patient’s needs.

Signs of Eating Disorders

While it is common for children and teens to feel unhappy with their body shape and size, for some, these concerns may lead to behaviors that pose serious medical consequences. These behaviors include:

  • Restricting – Intentionally or unintentionally reducing the quantity of food a person eats. Restricting is a common symptom of anorexia nervosa.
  • Binging – Eating anunusually large amount of food in a single sitting and finding it difficult to control oneself during a binge. Binge eating disorder is common with binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa.
  • Purging – An attempt to remove the calories that one recently consumed through behaviors such as self-induced vomiting or using laxatives. Purging  is a common symptom of bulimia and sometimes anorexia.
  • Excessive Exercise – Exercise can become excessive when the body is pushed past its limits or causes problems in other areas of one’s life in an effort to eliminate calories and loseweight. It can be a symptom of anorexia or bulimia.

These behaviors can be a part of a number of different diagnoses, but some of the common eating disorder diagnoses we treat include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge Eating Disorder
  • Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

Why Consider an Eating Disorder Therapist at Cadence Child & Adolescent Therapy?

We have a team of highly trained clinicians. There is a national shortage in clinicians that are professionally trained in eating disorder treatment. The number of eating-disorder specialist clinicians who report adhering to evidence-based protocols and manuals is between 6 and 35 %.  We are committed to combatting this reality and developing a generation of therapists that are 100% trained in the most effective and evidence-based treatments. As such, our team engages in rigorous training, supervision and oversight on a weekly basis under the leadership of a psychologist with 20 plus years of clinical experience in our clinic located in Bellevue.

We are accountable to results. Our providers track weight at each session, and we utilize routine outcome monitoring, as well as interdisciplinary outcome data from medical and nutritional providers, to assess age-appropriate independence around food. Treatment efficacy is evaluated in 3 month intervals to determine appropriate levels of care.

We create a respectful and supportive environment for patients and their families that is tailored towards your individual needs. We are conveniently located near I-405 and SR-520 in Bellevue. We commonly see patients from Seattle, Mercer Island, Kirkland, and Redmond.

Start Treatment Today

Cadence Child & Adolescent Therapy providesa safe and supportive environment for you, your child, and your family. Our mental health specialists have many years of experience helping patients of all ages who struggle with eating disorders and other mental health conditions. If you have additional questions or would like to schedule a consultation, you may call our Bellevue office at (425) 658-3200 or fill out our online form.

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