Diagnosis: Bulimia Nervosa
Treatment: Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Bulimia Nervosa
2015 EST Status: Treatment pending re-evaluation
Very strong: High-quality evidence that treatment improves symptoms and functional outcomes at post-treatment and follow-up; little risk of harm; requires reasonable amount of resources; effective in non-research settings
Strong: Moderate- to high-quality evidence that treatment improves symptoms OR functional outcomes; not a high risk of harm; reasonable use of resources
Weak: Low or very low-quality evidence that treatment produces clinically meaningful effects on symptoms or functional outcomes; Gains from the treatment may not warrant resources involved
Insufficient Evidence: No meta-analytic study could be identified
Insufficient Evidence: Existing meta-analyses are not of sufficient quality
Treatment pending re-evaluation
1998 EST Status: Strong Research Support
Strong: Support from two well-designed studies conducted by independent investigators.
Modest: Support from one well-designed study or several adequately designed studies.
Controversial: Conflicting results, or claims regarding mechanisms are unsupported.
Strength of Research Support
- Basic premise: Symptoms are related to interpersonal issues, and addressing interpersonal problems can alleviate the symptoms of bulimia nervosa
- Essence of therapy: Interpersonal psychotherapy focuses on helping clients understand how interpersonal factors contribute to, and are associated with, bulimia nervosa symptoms. Therapists work with the client to explore, identify, and change maladaptive interpersonal patterns; as more adaptive interpersonal patterns are developed, bulimia nervosa symptoms will decrease. Treatment is divided into three phases. The first phase focuses on raising awareness of how interpersonal factors are associated with bulimia nervosa symptoms. The second phase focuses on addressing and resolving the client’s interpersonal conflict and problems. The third phase focuses on discussing impending termination, reviewing progress made in therapy, and exploring ways the client can address interpersonal difficulties in the future.
- Length: 12-16 weeks
Editors: Patty Kuo, M.A.; Zac Imel, Ph.D.
Note: The resources provided below are intended to supplement not replace foundational training in mental health treatment and evidence-based practice
Treatment Manuals / Outlines
Books Available for Purchase Through External Sites
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Bulimia Nervosa (Fairburn 1997)
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy: A Clinician’s Guide (Stuart & Robertson, 2012)
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy Clinician’s Handbook (Stuart et al., 2012)
- Clinician’s Quick Guide to Interpersonal Psychotherapy (Weissman, Markowitz, & Klerman, 2007)
- Comprehensive Guide to Interpersonal Psychotherapy (Weissman, Markowitz, & Klerman, 2000)
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy of Depression (Klerman et al., 1984)
Training Materials and Workshops
Measures, Handouts and Worksheets
- IPT Quality and Adherence Scale (Interpersonal Psychotherapy Institute)
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy Process Outcome Scale (Markowitz et al., 2000)
- Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (Horrowitz et al., 1988)
Videos Available for Purchase Through External Sites
No videos of IPT for Bulimia Nervosa are available; however, video demonstrations of IPT for Depression are available below as IPT for Bulimia Nervosa was adapted from IPT for Depression.
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Older Adults with Depression (APA/Hinrichsen)
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depression (Ravtiz et al.)
- Interpersonal Psychotherapy: A Case of Postpartum Depression (Stuart)
- A transdiagnostic comparison of enhanced cognitive behavior therapy (CBT-E) and interpersonal psychotherapy in the treatment of eating disorders (Fairburn et al., 2015)
- A multicenter comparison of cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy for bulimia nervosa (Agras et al., 2000).
- Therapeutic alliance and treatment adherence in two interventions for bulimia nervosa: A study of process and outcome (Loeb et al., 2005)
- A randomized secondary treatment study of women with bulimia nervosa who fail to respond to CBT (Mitchell et al., 2002)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy for bulimia nervosa: Time course and mechanisms of change (Wilson et al., 2002)
- A prospective study of outcome in bulimia nervosa and the long-term effects of three psychological treatments (Fairburn et al., 1995).
- Group Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy for the Nonpurging Bulimic Individual: A controlled comparison (Wilfley et al., 1993)
- Psychotherapy and Bulimia Nervosa: The longer-term effects of interpersonal psychotherapy, behaviour therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (Fairburn et al., 1993).
- Three psychological treatments for bulimia nervosa: A comparative trial (Fairburn et al., 1991)
Meta-analyses and Systematic Reviews
- Specificity of psychological treatments for bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder? A meta-analysis of direct comparisons. (Spielmans et al., 2013)
- Psychological treatments for bulimia nervosa and binging (Hay et al., 2009)
- Psychotherapy for bulimia nervosa and binging (Hay et al., 2004)
Other Treatment Resources
- A brief form of interpersonal psychotherapy for adult patients with bulimic disorders: A pilot study (Arcelus et al., 2012)
- An integration of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Bulimia Nervosa: A case study using the case formulation method (Hendricks & Thompson, 2005)
- The association between patient characteristics and the therapeutic alliance in Cognitive-Behavioral and Interpersonal Therapy for Bulimia Nervosa (Constantino et al., 2005)