Carers of people with eating disorders are uncertain about how best to help and express the need for information. Fifty per cent of carers (usually parents) exhibit clinically significant anxiety and/or depression. This may result from a difficulty coping with the manifestations of anorexia nervosa (AN) in the sufferer. In turn, eating disorder symptoms can be maintained by family reactions to the illness. Thus, carer's own symptoms, plus their uncertainty about how to help, impinge upon the AN sufferer, exacerbating their symptoms and behaviours. In this paper, we describe an intervention which uses cognitive behavioural therapy principles to alleviate carer's depression and anxiety and motivational interviewing to target behaviours that maintain eating disorder symptoms, for example high expressed emotion and poor communication. This is given in the form of an educational workshop for two families.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental illness that affects women and men of all ages. Despite the gravity of its chronic morbidity, risk of premature death, and societal burden, the evidence base for its treatment-especially in adults-is weak. Guided by the finding that family-based interventions confer benefit in the treatment of anorexia nervosa in adolescents, we developed a cognitive-behavioral couple-based intervention for adults with anorexia nervosa who are in committed relationships that engages both the patient and her/his partner in the treatment process. This article describes the theoretical rationale behind the development of Uniting Couples in the treatment of Anorexia nervosa (UCAN), practical considerations in delivering the intervention, and includes reflections from the developers on the challenges of working with couples in which one member suffers from anorexia nervosa. Finally, we discuss future applications of a couple-based approach to the treatment of adults with eating disorders.
Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy 02/2012; 26(1):19-33. DOI:10.1891/0889-83220.127.116.11
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