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Eat Disord. 2009 Jan-Feb;17(1):27-45. doi: 10.1080/10640260802570098.

Treating patients with eating disorders: an examination of treatment providers' experiences.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada 89154, USA.


Patients with eating disorders bring unique challenges to treatment providers. The purpose of this study was to explore treatment providers' experiences working with patients with eating disorders. Specifically, we investigated 1) the frequency and management of commentary about the treatment providers' appearance from patients, 2) personal changes in affect, vigilance around appearance, and eating behaviors in treatment providers, and 3) feedback and suggestions about effectively working with these patients. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, 43 professional eating disorder treatment providers attending the Multiservice Eating Disorder Association (MEDA) annual conference completed a questionnaire created for this study. Results suggest that most treatment providers experienced direct and indirect commentary about their appearance from patients and experienced notable changes in their view of food, eating behaviors, and vigilance of their own and others' appearance while working with these patients. Recommendations and suggestions from treatment providers about effectively treating these patients and managing personal changes are explored.

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