By recommendation of the MBS Working Group on Eating Disorders and with the financial support of the Australian Government, the Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED) and the National Eating Disorder Collaboration (NEDC) have partnered to develop a credentialing system.
What is the Eating Disorder Credential?
The ANZAED Eating Disorder Credential is formal recognition of qualifications, knowledge, training, and professional development activities needed to meet minimum standards for delivery of safe and effective eating disorder treatment.
Why have an Eating Disorder Credential?
- To help people experiencing eating disorders to identify and access the right treatment at the right time, increasing the chance of timely intervention and positive treatment outcome.
- To support referrers to easily locate a mental health professional and/or dietitian to provide treatment for people experiencing an eating disorder.
- To enhance the effectiveness and consistency of treatment for eating disorders in Australia.
- To build the eating disorders workforce and promote workforce development and training.
- To enable clinicians to achieve recognition for their skills and experience.
Credential criteria and profession eligibility
Considerations of safety and risk for the consumer have been central in the development of the ANZAED Eating Disorder Credential criteria. The determination of criteria and profession eligibility has involved broad, nationwide consultation with stakeholder groups including clinicians, sector leaders, professional organisations, and those with lived experience.
The criteria for the Credential are built on the NEDC Workforce Core Competencies  and the ANZAED Clinical Practice & Training Standards [2, 3, 4], which prescribe the minimum knowledge, practical skills and experience required of mental health and dietetic professionals to successfully respond to, treat, and manage eating disorders, and constitute a basis for content of professional development and training.
Eligibility of Professions
The Credential is designed to support the treatment of individuals with eating disorders across all diagnostic presentations, from early intervention through to complex and acute, both in public and private settings.
The Credential is available to counsellors, dietitians, general practitioners, mental health nurses, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, and social workers who meet the criteria.
General practitioners’ and psychiatrists’ eligibility for the Credential is as the provider of psychological therapy; that is, the Credential does not reflect their role in the multidisciplinary team as medical practitioner, in management of medications, or in review of eating disorder management and treatment plans. General practitioners are required to be a registered provider of Focused Psychological Strategies to be eligible for the Credential.
Applications will be made along one of two employment pathways:
Private practice: Mental health professionals and dietitians working in private practice in any capacity must be registered with AHPRA and/or be a member of their relevant professional body (AASW, ACA, DA or PACFA). Mental health nurses are required to hold the ACMHN Credential as awarded by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc. Nurse practitioners must be an endorsed nurse practitioner under the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.
Public health and other: Mental health professionals and dietitians working in public health or settings other than private practice must be engaged under a contract of employment. Applicants will be required to provide evidence of graduate level qualification in their profession. The Credential for applicants under the public health or other pathway does not apply to private practice work.
Applicants for the Credential will need to demonstrate:
Training: Introduction to eating disorders for health professionals
At the conclusion of Introductory training, a mental health professional or dietitian has acquired knowledge and skill in the areas as described in the NEDC Workforce Core Competencies and ANZAED Treatment Principles and General Clinical Practice Standards.
Training: Evidence-based treatment model (mental health professionals only)
All mental health professionals must be trained in at least one evidence-based treatment model for eating disorders. The models included within the scope of the credential are: FBT, CBT-E, CBT-GSH, SSCM, MANTRA, AFT/APT, IPT-ED, DBT-ED, FBT-ED, CBT-AN, CBT-BN, and CBT-BED.*
Training: Evidence-informed dietetic practice (dietitians only)
All dietitians must be trained in evidence-informed dietetic practice for eating disorders. On completion of the training, dietitians should be equipped to provide dietetic management to ensure safe and effective treatment of individuals with an eating disorder as described in the ANZAED Clinical Practice and Training Standards for Dietitians.
Experience: two-years mental health clinical practice (mental health professionals only) / two-years clinical practice (dietitians only)
Mental health professionals must be able to demonstrate that they have engaged in post-undergraduate clinical practice in a mental health role that is predominantly direct client work. This practice contributes to the consolidation of skills in general mental health practice as outlined in the ANZAED Treatment Principles and General Clinical Practice Standards. Dietitians must be able to demonstrate that they have engaged in post-undergraduate clinical practice that is predominantly direct client work. This practice contributes to the consolidation of skills in screening, assessment, nutrition diagnosis, intervention. A template will be provided for applicants to guide their written evidence summary.
Supervision: Eating disorder-specific supervision – 6 hours p.a.
All mental health professionals and dietitians must complete 6 hours of eating disorder-specific supervision per year, of which 50% is in a 1:1 format (teleconference included). A supervision plan must be submitted when applying for the Credential and when renewing the Credential, outlining the applicant’s learning needs and a proposal for supervisor and/or supervision groups to support knowledge and skill development in the area of eating disorder treatment. A template will be provided to guide the development of a supervision plan.
Continuing professional development (CPD) – 15 hours p.a.
All mental health professionals and dietitians must complete 15 hours of CPD relevant to eating disorders per year. A CPD plan should be submitted when applying for the credential and when renewing the Credential for the coming 12 months, outlining a proposal for ongoing learning (e.g., training, webinar, online learning) to support knowledge and skill development in the area of eating disorder treatment. A template will be provided to guide the development of a CPD plan.
* FBT: Family Based Treatment; CBT-E: Enhanced Cognitive Behaviour Therapy; CBT-GSH: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – Guided Self Help; SSCM: Specialist Supportive Clinical Management; MANTRA: Maudsley model of Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults; AFT: Adolescent-focused therapy; APT: Adolescent Parent Treatment: Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Eating Disorders; DBT-ED: Dialectical Behaviour Therapy for Eating Disorders; CBT-AN: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Anorexia Nervosa; CBT-BN: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Bulimia Nervosa, and CBT-BED: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Binge Eating Disorder.
In recognition that some professionals currently practicing may not have undertaken formal training in the mode prescribed, or may not have records of having done so, a sunset clause will be provided for applications received during the first six months of application processing. Under the sunset clause transition period, applicants will have the opportunity to provide written evidence of their knowledge and skill development and experience across the training requirements (Introduction to eating disorders and evidence-based treatment model training for mental health professionals; Introduction to eating disorders and evidence-informed dietetic practice for dietitians) in place of evidence demonstrating training completion. After this six-month period, all applicants will need to complete the required training.
It is planned to commence accepting credentialing applications in late 2021 or early 2022. Dates relevant to the application and system processes will be made publicly available as systems progress. For ongoing updates, please visit www.anzaed.org.au or www.nedc.com.au
Engagement with governing bodies
ANZAED and NEDC have met with and look forward to working further with the professional bodies supporting eligible professions to ensure the ANZAED Eating Disorder Credential is implemented in a way which optimises the positive impact of their members’ work and delivers benefits for individual clinicians and organisations.
To date discussions have been held with: Australian Association of Psychologists Inc.; Australian Association of Social Workers; Australian Clinical Psychology Association; Australian College of Mental Health Nurses; Australian College of Nurse Practitioners; Australian Counselling Association; Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency; Australian Psychological Society; Dietitians Australia; Occupational Therapy Australia; Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia; Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists; Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. This is an ongoing process; please be in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss the Eating Disorder Credential and implications for professions.
The Credential online platform has three pathways to guide:
1) clinicians seeking a Credential,
2) consumers seeking treatment, and
3) referrers seeking a professional.
There will be information on the Credential website to help consumers navigate the stepped system of care, and clinicians will be able to offer a profile of their services to support treatment seekers locate a provider.
NEDC have consulted with eating disorder sector training providers to seek their input on the alignment of eating disorder training with national standards and competencies and the credential criteria. NEDC will continue to work with training providers to ensure that training and professional development opportunities are available for clinicians seeking to apply for, and maintain, the Credential. We will ensure that information about training opportunities relevant to the Credential is accessible via the ANZAED and NEDC websites.
If you deliver training in eating disorders to clinicians within Australia and would like to have input, please get in touch at email@example.com.
Information for people seeking treatment, people with eating disorders, families and supports
Throughout our extensive consultations with people with lived experience of eating disorders and their families and carers, we have heard the idea of a credentialing system is welcomed. People with lived experience told us a system of credentialing will increase the chances of a positive first contact with treatment providers, which is important in helping people to keep taking steps towards wellbeing and recovery.
The credentialing system is not established yet but check back here regularly to learn about key dates and progress with the project. In the meantime, here are some other avenues to help you find a treatment provider:
ANZAED and NEDC will pilot and evaluate the credentialing system and online platform, with necessary system refinements made in July-September 2021.
Engagement with professional bodies, training organisations, and key stakeholders including clinicians, referrers and lived experience organisations will be ongoing as we prepare to launch the credentialing website later in 2021.
ANZAED and NEDC look forward to working with you in the implementation of the ANZAED Eating Disorder Credential as we strive to implement a safe, effective, and accessible system of care for those living with an eating disorder.
Please click here for our FAQ page.
- National Eating Disorders Collaboration. Workforce core competencies for the safe and effective identification of and response to eating disorders (2018). https://www.nedc.com.au/assets/Uploads/WORKFORCE-CORE-COMPETENCIES-for-the-safe-and-effective-identification-of-and-response-to-eating-disorders.pdf
- Heruc, G., Hurst, K., Casey, A. et al. ANZAED eating disorder treatment principles and general clinical practice and training standards. J Eat Disord 8, 63 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40337-020-00341-0
- Heruc G. et al. ANZAED practice and training standards for dietitians providing eating disorder treatment. J Eat Disord 8, 77 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40337-020-00334-z
- Hurst, K., Heruc, G., Thornton, C. et al. ANZAED practice and training standards for mental health professionals providing eating disorder treatment. J Eat Disord 8, 58 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40337-020-00333-0