Recovered eating disorder therapists using their experiential knowledge in therapy: A qualitative examination of the therapists’ and the patients’ view

Jan Alexander De Vos, Carmen Netten, Greta Noordenbos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
74 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In the eating disorder (ED) field there is a lack of guidelines regarding the utilization of recovered therapists and the experiential knowledge they can bring to therapy. In this study, a qualitative design was used to examine recovered eating disorder therapists using their experiential knowledge and how this influences therapy and the patients they treat. Respectively, 205 patients (response rate 57%), and 26 recovered therapists (response rate 75%) completed a questionnaire about advantages and disadvantages of the utilization of experiential knowledge in therapy. Results showed that using experiential knowledge can have several advantages and disadvantages in therapy. Therapists can use this knowledge as a therapeutic intervention with specific goals, such as providing the patient with insight into the recovery process, establishing a working relationship, and enhancing hope for recovery. To be effective, self-disclosure and experiential knowledge need to be shared thoughtfully, and should not include specific details about ED symptoms. Other factors noted that enhanced the benefits of experiential knowledge included therapist self-insight and self-care, adequate training and guidance, and a safe work environment. Patients stated that being treated by a recovered therapist had a positive effect on their recovery process. It is advised to establish guidelines in the ED field about working with recovered therapists and the experiential knowledge they might use in therapy. Further research is needed on the process of when, how, and which experiential knowledge is shared by recovered therapists in therapy, and the effects of these interventions on patients and their treatment outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-223
Number of pages17
JournalEating Disorders
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2016

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