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Psychotherapy Section One Day Conference: Food: Disorder or Wellbeing

Friday 26th October 2018 at BPS Offices, Tabernacle Street, London

The Psychotherapy Section of the British Psychological Society announced their Annual Conference which this year addressed the subject of psychotherapeutic work with Eating Disorders. We are choosing to reframe the issue asking whether we need to think about eating as a disorder or as a quest for physical and psychological wellbeing that is full of mistaken beliefs and pitfalls. Professionals in the field working with the risks and intransigence of the condition will know the demands and personal costs of the work where the natural process and function of eating becomes a matter of fear and avoidance.

In this conference we hoped to nourish our practice and we have drawn on multi-modal schools of thought to support your knowledge and skills and to support you to think with clarity about your clients and patients.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives

  1. Increased understanding of Multi-modal methods for work with Eating Disorders.
  2. Increased skill in practitioner self care when working in the field.
  3. Increase capacity to reflect on issues of intransigence.
  4. Reframing of the goals of the patient with an Eating Disorder patients.

Presentation Downloads

Understanding ‘Ed’ - Making sense of the internal eating disorder ‘voice’
Pull up a chair
Cognitive Behavioural Chairwork

Presentation Overviews

Speaker biographies can be found further down the page.

John Adlam

In his talk, John will argue for a reformulation of severe 'eating disorder', making use of direct testimony from survivors and building on the twin concepts of eating distress and food practices. He will offer a critique of the often bewildering interventions in such units, which are too often the source of iatrogenic disorder which then in turn becomes re-pathologised by ED services, reinforcing and perpetuating a loop of misattunement as to the nature and phenomenology of eating distress.

Dr Louise Langman

“Am I hungry? Eat mindfully, live vibrantly!”
Presentation overview to follow shortly

Dr Matthew Pugh

Understanding ‘Ed’: Making sense of the internal eating disorder ‘voice’

Many individuals experiencing eating disorder symptoms describe an internal ‘voice of their disorder. This presentation will outline current research exploring voice-hearing in eating disorders, its controversies, and ways in which such experiences can be conceptualised psychotherapeutically. Experiential methods for working with voices in eating disorders will be demonstrated.

Dr Marie Reid

Psychological aspects of morbid obesity

Obesity is still often thought of and treated as either a purely biological problem or as a personal weakness due to greed, lack of willpower or ignorance. This talk will discuss the psychological dimension to obesity with a focus on morbid obesity which is of particular interest because it involves the person developing a visible and often life threatening condition without effective remedial action from the person, those around them or health care professionals. How can this come about? Common developmental issues include trauma, bullying and self stigmatisation. These tend to be worsened by the challenges of living with obesity, by life events and stress, and by other people, including health care professionals, being unsure of how to address or even acknowledge the issue. CBT can work with people with morbid obesity although it needs to focus on broad health and wellbeing improvements rather than weight loss.

Speaker biographies can be viewed further down the event page.

If you have any queries please contact us via the event hotline on 01332 224507


Friday 26th October 2018

Please note, all speakers, timings and content are subject to change.

09:15Introduction: Jo North
09:30Mathew Pugh
10:30Refreshment Break
11:00Louise Langman
12:00Geraldine Shipton
13:45Dr Valeria Ugazio
14:45Refreshment Break
15:00John Adlam
16:00John Adlam Plenary
16:30Conference Close

Speakers and Facilitators

John Adlam

John Adlam is a group psychotherapist, advanced MBT practitioner and independent writer and researcher. He is Principal Adult Psychotherapist and Lead for inpatient psychological therapies with the SW London and St George’s Adult Eating Disorders Service, where he has worked since 2002. John is also a Consultant Adult Forensic Psychotherapist at River House MSU, Bethlem Hospital. He is a founding member of the Association for Psychosocial Studies and is the co-editor of Violent States and Creative States: from the Global to the Individual (2018, Jessica Kingsley Publishers (London)).

Dr Louise Langman

Clinical psychologist, Dr Louise Langman uses a weight inclusive rather than weight normative approach to wellness, acknowledging that services are usually unhelpfully structured around BMI. She will introduce the mindful eating cycle as a helpful tool in healing our relationship with food as it encourages individuals to take charge of their decisions about eating, physical activity, health and self-care. Dr Langman has a specialist interest in eating distress and has worked across community and inpatient ED and bariatric settings both in the UK and in the USA. She founded Flourish Psychology in 2015 to improve access to psychological services and is based in the South West of England.

Dr Matthew Pugh

Dr Matthew Pugh is a Clinical Psychologist, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist, Advanced Schema Therapist, and Emotion-focused Therapist (in training).

Matthew is Lead CBT Therapist at the Vincent Square Eating Disorders Service (Central and Northwest London NHS Foundation Trust) and Honorary Clinical Lecturer at University College London. He has published several research articles on internal voices in eating disorders and the application of experiential techniques, including chairwork. He also runs a private practice in Amersham, Bucks.

Dr Marie Reid

Marie Reid is a consultant clinical psychologist and professor of clinical and health psychology at the University of Hull. She specialises in human feeding both in research and clinically. She helped to set up Hull’s first specialist multidisciplinary service for people who are morbidly obese and provides psychological input to that service. Also, she is a member of the BPS’s National Obesity Task and Finish Group and led on the BPS response to the revised NICE guidelines on eating disorders. Amongst her relevant research topics are service users' perspectives on their condition and services and the life stories of people with chronic conditions including obesity and eating disorders.

Geraldine Shipton

Geraldine Shipton is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Sheffield
with an interest in eating disorders and the mind-body relationship.
She is the author of a book: 'Working with eating disorders; a
psychoanalytic approach' and several other publications. She was
formerly a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield where she was
also a part of a non-psychoanalytic research project looking at the
family through the lens of food.

Valeria Ugazio Ph.D

Valeria Ugazio is a systemic psychotherapist with a long experience with eating disorders. She practices in Milano where she runs the European Institute of Systemic-relational Therapies ( which she founded twenty years ago. She is also Full Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Bergamo. Her family semantic polarities theory, extensively presented in Semantic polarities and psychopathology in the family: permitted and forbidden stories (Routledge, New York, 2013), offers an innovative perspective about eating disorders.


BPS Offices, Tabernacle Street, London

30 Tabernacle Street, London, EC2A 4UE •  Directions

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