An introduction to working with people with eating disorders and body dysmorphia (CPD50)

Apply a psychodynamic approach to understanding the challenges and attitudes around food, eating and body image

This is an introductory course on eating disorders and body dysmorphia, based on a psychodynamic frame of reference.

We are no longer running this course. If you would like to be updated about similar courses in future, please register your interest via our mailing list.

Aims and learning objectives

The approach adopted is based on the thoughtful application of psychoanalytic principles and ideas. The symptoms of the eating disorder are considered in terms of the underlying difficulties the patient has or has had in making relationships. Continuities between past and present, infant and adult experiences are observed and explored and attention is paid to trauma and anxiety in early stages of life.

The aims of the course are:

  • to enable students to read and reflect on relevant psychoanalytic papers and ideas in relation to eating disorders and body dysmorphia
  • to work towards the integration of new ideas by the detailed discussion of actual working situations through case presentations
  • to understand the importance of early experience in later attitudes to food, eating and body image
  • to tease out some of the unconscious meanings and associations of food, eating and body image

Who is this course for?

This course is for professionals working therapeutically either in private practice or in an NHS setting with patients with eating disorders, feeding difficulties and traits of body dysmorphia.

Course details

We are no longer running this course. If you would like to be updated about similar courses in future, please register your interest via our form.

The course comprises eighteen two-hour sessions on the following dates:

Sessions in 2023DateStart timeEnd time
Session 1/18Tuesday 10 October 20237.30pm9.30pm
Session 2/18Tuesday 17 October 20237.30pm9.30pm
Session 3/18Tuesday 24 October 20237.30pm9.30pm
Session 4/18Tuesday 31 October 20237.30pm9.30pm
Session 5/18Tuesday 7 November 20237.30pm9.30pm
Session 6/18Tuesday 14 November 20237.30pm9.30pm
Sessions in 2024DateStart timeEnd time
Session 7/18Tuesday 13 February 20247.30pm9.30pm
Session 8/18Tuesday 20 February 20247.30pm9.30pm
Session 9/18Tuesday 27 February 20247.30pm9.30pm
Session 10/18Tuesday 5 March 20247.30pm9.30pm
Session 11/18Tuesday 12 March 20247.30pm9.30pm
Session 12/18Tuesday 19 March 20247.30pm9.30pm
Session 13/18Tuesday 7 May 20247.30pm9.30pm
Session 14/18Tuesday 14 May 20247.30pm9.30pm
Session 15/18Tuesday 21 May 20247.30pm9.30pm
Session 16/18Tuesday 28 May 20247.30pm9.30pm
Session 17/18Tuesday 4 June 20247.30pm9.30pm
Session 18/18Tuesday 11 June 20247.30pm9.30pm

This course will be delivered remotely using Zoom.

You will need a device with a microphone and camera together with a suitably fast internet connection. Although mobile devices and tablets can be used, we recommend the use of a laptop or desktop PC for the best experience. Some devices provided by employers may have restrictions in place. Please use this Zoom test link to check your set up before booking.

You will be sent the necessary login link about a week before the course start date. Should you have any concerns about the accessibility of remote delivery please contact us to discuss how we can best help you.

The course consists of weekly seminars, split into three blocks across the year. During each seminar, a guest speaker will present an overview of an aspect of eating disorders, and/or case material, which will consider unconscious meanings and associations of food, eating and body image.

The rest of the session will then pick up on the themes and look at a related paper or chapter from the reading list. The paper will be given out the week prior to discussion.

Library membership

Included in your course fee, you will receive online membership to the Tavistock’s internationally-renowned library for the duration of your course.

Our friendly and knowledgeable library team will help to support you through your specialist CPD course, whatever your level of professional or academic experience. You will have access to an extensive range of eBooks, online journals, all the relevant key databases and our specialist audio-visual collection, plus reference access to all our print books.

Our information skills trainer has made lots of material available on Moodle to help you navigate our comprehensive electronic collections. PCs and photocopiers are available for your use (charges apply for printing and copying), as well as various online resources including audio/video playlists.


“I thought the course structure and content, including the reading materials, were carefully considered and extremely engaging. The integration of theorists and clinical case material was outstanding.rnrnrn”
“It is highly appreciated that the course was conducted remotely via Zoom so that participants from all round the world can join in.”
“The course has provided a very comprehensive and succinct view into eating disorders and body dysmorphism from a psychoanalytic perspective. More importantly, the theories mentioned were backed up by clinical vignettes which made the concepts easy to digest.”
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