Saturday, July 24, 2010

Is the Treatment for Eating Disorders Specialized?

The following factors have been determined to contribute the most to the quality of treatment provided by therapists treating eating disorders. (Adapted from Rie et al., 2008, International Journal of Eating Disorders, 41, 307-317)

-Being respected
-Learning to take your own responsibility
-Learning how to eat normally
-Focus on recovering weight
-Focus on improving your body image
-Being taken seriously
-Trust in therapist
-Explanation of information on EDs
-Keeping a(n) (eating) diary
-Being able to talk about eating behaviors
-Treatment that addresses the person
-Being able to talk about feelings
-Focus on self esteem
-Being able to talk about thoughts
-Addressing underlying problems
-Being accepted as you are

When these specifics were ranked by both therapists and patients, the results showed that therapists placed the highest priority on behavioral change and eating disorder symptoms, while patients stressed the importance of the therapeutic relationship, and the need to address problems underlying the eating disorder.
I plan to write more about the important 'specialities' of working with eating disordered patients.

(Garner, D.M. & Keiper, C.D. (in press) Eating Disorders. In: J.Thomas & M. Herson (Editors). Handbook of Clinical Psychology Competencies (volume 3), New York: Springer.)


  1. When a high quality trusting and caring relationship exists between patient and psychotherapist and the patient is free to address any issue at all that effects her emotional state and that holds her back from being the whole, healthy and free woman she can be eating disorder behaviors and symptoms decline. Eventually they fall away because the patient no longer needs such behaviors to cope with the stresses of her life.

    Joanna Poppink, MFT
    author: Healing Your Hungry Heart

  2. So true Joanna! I would never have believed that I would NOT be in therapy, after seeing someone for over 25 years of my life! As I become more whole, those needs I am in the other chair!! So cool. Thank you for reading ♥