Christopher Fairburn

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Christopher Granville Fairburn, FMedSci, FRCPsych, is the Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow and a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford and director of the Centre for Research on Eating Disorders at Oxford (CREDO).


Fairburn was educated at Malvern College, the University of Oxford, and the University of Edinburgh.[citation needed] He trained in medicine at Oxford and then in psychiatry at Edinburgh.[1] He returned to Oxford in 1979. He has been a full-time clinical scientist since 1981, initially funded by the Medical Research Council. He has held the top level of Wellcome Trust fellowship since 1984. Between 2007 and 2011, Fairburn was a Governor of the Wellcome Trust.[2] Since 2011, he has been a Trustee of the mental health research foundation MQ: Transforming Mental Health.[3]


Fairburn has two research interests: the nature and treatment of eating disorders, and the development and evaluation of psychological interventions. The result has been the development of specific psychological treatments for the eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and allied states). He and his colleagues developed the leading evidence-based treatment for bulimia nervosa (a form of cognitive behavioral therapy)[4][5] and, more recently, an "enhanced" version (CBT-E) for any type of eating disorder and for all age groups.[6] NHS England[7] and the Chief Medical Officer[8] have recommended that CBT-E be made available for all patients with an eating disorder, whatever their specific diagnosis and whatever their age.

Fairburn has also developed new methods for disseminating psychological treatments. These include an online and scalable way of training large numbers of clinicians simultaneously (web-centred training)[9] and a self-help version of the cognitive behavioural treatment for bulimia nervosa.[10] He is currently developing an online form of CBT-E ("CBTe").


Books Dr Fairburn has written include the highly regarded "Overcoming Binge Eating" - now in its second edition (2013). This includes, at Part Two, a multi-stepped self-help program for individuals who suffer from an eating disorder (e.g. bulimia nervosa; binge eating disorder) to work through systematically, over a period of months, either on their own or aided by a therapist if they prefer, in order to resolve their eating disorder successfully.


Fairburn is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences[11] and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.[12] He has twice been a Fellow at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1989-1990; 1998-1999).[13] He has received the Beck Prize (2011) from the Academy of Cognitive Therapy[14] and the Outstanding Research Prize (2002) and Lifetime Achievement Award (2015) from the Academy of Eating Disorders.[15]


  1. ^ "FAIRBURN, Prof. Christopher Granville". Who’s Who. 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2015. 
  2. ^ Wellcome Trust Annual Report and Financial Statements, 2007
  3. ^ "Trustees". MQ: Transforming Mental Health. Retrieved 22 December 2015. 
  4. ^ NICE, 2004. Eating Disorders: Core interventions in the treatment and management of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related eating disorders. Royal College of Psychiatrists and British Psychological Society, London.
  5. ^ Hay, P. (2013). "A systematic review of evidence for psychological treatments for eating disorders, 2005-2012". International Journal of Eating Disorders. 46: 462–469. doi:10.1002/eat.22103. PMID 23658093. 
  6. ^ Wellcome Trust Annual Review, 2001. Moods and food. Page 31.
  7. ^ National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, 2015. Eating Disorders: Access and Waiting Time Standard for Children and Young People with an Eating Disorder. NHS England, London, page 25.
  8. ^ Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer, 2014. The Health of the 51%: Women. Department of Health, London, page 11.
  9. ^ Cooper, Z; Bailley-Straebler, S (2015). "Disseminating evidence-based psychological treatments for eating disorders". Current Psychiatry Reports. 17. doi:10.1007/s11920-015-0551-7. 
  10. ^ Wilson, GT; Zandberg, LJ (2012). "Cognitive–behavioral guided self-help for eating disorders: Effectiveness and scalability". Clinical Psychology Review. 32: 343–357. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2012.03.001. 
  11. ^ "Professor Christopher Fairburn, FMedSci". Retrieved 22 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "Professor Christopher Fairburn". Retrieved 22 December 2015. (subscription required)
  13. ^ "Past Fellows, Research Affiliates, and Visiting Scholars (Class of 1990-91 and Class of 1998-99)". Retrieved 22 December 2015. 
  14. ^ "Christopher G. Fairburn, DM, FMedSci, FRCPsych". Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Retrieved 22 December 2015. 
  15. ^ "iCED Conference on Eating Disorders" (PDF). 25 April 2016. p. 7. Retrieved 22 December 2015. 

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