Counselling and psychotherapy at First Steps ED is one of our core services and one which recognises the unique experiences of all clients and eating disorders.

Our aim is to provide a safe, non-judgemental, and understanding space to give our clients the time and freedom to talk.

Counselling and psychotherapy help to support individuals with a particular life obstacle that they want to overcome. Counsellors and psychotherapists in First Steps provide 1:1 therapy to individuals aged 16 and above with eating disorders. Our counsellors are trained in different approaches of therapy. These approaches are Person-Centred, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Attachment Theory, Psychodynamic, Humanistic, and Integrative therapy.

Below is a brief explanation of what these approaches mean:

Person-Centred Therapy

is a non-directive approach where the client is in charge of each therapy session and the professional acts as a guide or support for the client. This therapy allows the client to take the wheel in their sessions.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

is an approach where the therapists help their clients to identify and change negative thought patterns which impact their behaviour and emotions. Usually, during CBT sessions, the therapist and the client agrees on tasks to do between sessions, aimed at helping to fix the issue they identified.


Attachment Therapy 

is based on the attachment theory founded by John Bowlby. This approach explores how childhood attachments may impact the ability to form bonds as adults. The aim is for the client to gain a sense of security, promoting balance in their emotions while increasing their self-esteem and self-confidence.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Events in our childhood impact our adult lives and can shape our personality. In psychodynamic therapy, therapists aim to help their clients become self-aware and understand the influence of the past on present behaviour.

Humanistic Therapy

motivates their clients to explore how they think about their selves and recognise your strengths. The main aim for humanistic therapy aim is to help clients think more positively about their self and improve their self-awareness.

Integrative Therapy

is an approach to treatment of which involves different therapeutic approaches best suited for the client. Integrative therapists strive to create the most significant changes by tailoring their therapy to their clients.

At First Steps, we have two types of counsellors: placement counsellors, and qualified counsellors. Placement counsellors have the minimum of a level 4 counselling qualification, furthering their education in counselling with placement in a clinical setting, as a part of their education. These sessions are offered face-to-face or online, for £20 per session. Counselling by qualified counsellors is also offered face-to-face or online, for £45 per session.

All counsellors at First Steps are highly trained and experienced in different counselling techniques. All our counsellors have been thoroughly trained and are knowledgeable about eating disorders, and how to integrate the treatment of eating disorders with the approaches mentioned above.

Our friendly team are happy to talk you through the options before you get started. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health and eating disorders, so if counselling isn’t for you we will try and help you find a more suitable service or support option.

For more helpful information on our counselling and psychotherapy, contact us today.

Important: Please note that First Steps ED services are for people with mild to moderate eating disorder and comorbid mental health issues. We do not provide a crisis or emergency service. Following support from a crisis team, we require 12 weeks from your discharge date before making a referral into our services unless a professional referral is made by Integrated Community Services (ICS). If you need help for a mental health crisis or emergency, please visit the NHS website, contact your GP or for immediate assistance call 999.

“I like having the structure of weekly sessions, and the fact it wasn’t heavily focused at all on weight or eating and more rounded looking at all of me rather than just the eating disorder.”

Service User, First Steps ED

“So grateful I found First Steps. My therapist has really given me the confidence and support to pursue recovery and heal”

Service User, First Steps ED

“I don’t think I could say any improvement, this is the best help I have received. I feel understood, important and encouraged”

Service User, First Steps ED

“I like that I could do the service online, it meant that I could make it every week and that I wouldn’t be unable to make it. I also think that this made me more comfortable as I was in the comfort of my own bedroom”

Service User, First Steps ED

“My therapist was incredibly supportive and approached sensitive issues with compassion and understanding. This is an amazing service that has positively impacted my life more than I could have hoped”

Service User, First Steps ED