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  • Open Access

Disordered eating in a tertiary setting: considerations for responding at a university health and counselling service

Journal of Eating Disorders20153 (Suppl 1) :P1

  • Published:


  • Health Promotion
  • Disease Prevention
  • Body Image
  • Support Group
  • Eating Disorder

Measuring and comparing the prevalence of eating disorders/disordered eating in tertiary settings with the general population is notoriously difficult. However studies indicate that many students in tertiary settings struggle with body dissatisfaction, restriction, purging or a diagnosable eating disorder at any one time. Given that poor body image and dieting can be entrees into eating disorders, this has obvious implications for counselling services in university settings where brief interventions are usually the norm. This paper will consider how to respond to these students focussing on issues of identification, risk, key counselling foci, ‘self-help’ including support group work, collegial relationships within/outside the service, and referral. I will generate discussion about adequately responding to students who may be experiencing and reporting disordered eating for the first time, to a university counselling service.

Authors’ Affiliations

University Health and Counselling Service, Auckland University, Auckland, New Zealand


© Burns 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.