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Two studies that are to take a deeper look into Anorexia Nervosa: The Loughborough Eating disorders Activity theraPy (LEAP) study which looks at the role of extreme exercise in the maintenance of Anorexia Nervosa combining cognitive techniques and behavioural experiments. And the Strong Without Anorexia Nervosa (SWAN) study which aims at determining which three psychological treatments: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Maudsley Cognitive Motivation Therapy, and Supportive Clinical Management have the best outcome for Anorexia Nervosa.
With such a great need for continued research in the area of Eating Disorders, it’s always inspiring to see the dedication and commitment of the individuals and clinicians driving these studies- Kudos!
The European Eating Disorder Review published two interesting case studies utilizing the NF therapuetic intervention which resulted in some differences (though it appeared both participants found the method beneficial from their personal feedback) which involve three distinct Sessions:
- Session 1 – Neuropsychological Assessment
- Session 2 – Feedback, Formulation & Target Setting
- Session 3 – Reflection
Researches Carolina Lopez, Marion Roberts, Kate Tchanturia and Janet Treasure make clear that these results are preliminary and indeed need further development and study, but that they show promise towards working individually with AN sufferers (I would also think this modality can be implemented and fine-tuned specifically within the other eating disorder spectrum/diagnosis’ as well) and their distinct cognitive processes that can be or become increasingly rigid, singly focused, and inflexible keeping one “stuck” (my words) in a repetitive cycle usually not helpful for an eating disorder sufferer. The “aim of the intervention is to help individuals transcend their information processing styles and develop a more balanced strategy in their relationship with food and shape/weight“.
What stood out positively within the study was pointing out that there is no “right or wrong” in terms of a sufferers cognitive style, and that the emphasis was not to constantly drill a negative personal message of something being “wrong” with an individual. But rather, using the modality to assist in being able to “step back” (where the reflection session comes in) and gain some personal perspective, more reflectively to “problem solve” and restrategize what may be perpetuating a cyclical unhealthy processing in terms of the eating disorder and cognitive-rigidity; and expand a broader scope to better assist and support the sufferer within continued recovery.
What also stood out to me personally in reviewing the case studies was a reflection upon how “acting quickly”, finding treatment, experienced and trained providers, and having a “plan of action” earlier vs later cannot be understated. And sometimes you have to really be a bug up someones arse to get things moving and changing, or finding better care if you’re not getting the services you or your loved one need– so don’t give up, keep plugging forward — everyday is a new beginning.