Using group therapy to support eating disordered mothers with their children: the relevance for primary care

Barnett, Sarah, Buckroyd, Julia and Windle, Karen (2006) Using group therapy to support eating disordered mothers with their children: the relevance for primary care. Primary Health Care Research and Development, 7 (1). pp. 39-49. ISSN 1463-4236

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Eating disorders are a crippling and disabling condition. If they become chronic, the emotional, physical and social effects are substantial. The death rate is the highest of all psychiatric illnesses so the need to find prevention strategies is urgent. This research project has three aims, primary prevention of an eating disorder for the child, helping the mother recover and developing a protocol for a group to be used in primary care. Children of mothers with an eating disorder, are a proven ‘at risk’ group, because children model and internalize their experiences. This project was carried out in a community setting, targeting mothers with an eating disorder who had children under the age of 13. It was argued that if these mothers can be encouraged to change the dysfunctional behaviour they may be passing on to their children, an attempt can be made to break the cycle. This qualitative research pilot project utilized semi-structured interviews before and after 11 weeks of group therapy, with three- and six-month follow-ups. Although the sample was small, the results showed that a group allowed these mothers a safe space for reflection, enabling them to become aware of their behaviour. As a result the mothers implemented changes in response to their children's needs, encouraging healthier development. The pilot was a precursor for a larger study to be carried out and developed within the primary care network.

Keywords:Group therapy, Heritability, Mother-child relationship, Mothers/eating disorders, Primary care, Primary prevention
Subjects:L Social studies > L510 Health & Welfare
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Health & Social Care
ID Code:13460
Deposited On:05 Mar 2014 14:59

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