Perspectives of underweight people with eating disorders on receiving Imagery Rescripting trauma treatment: a qualitative study of their experiences

Authors Marieke ten Napel-Schutz, Simona Karbouniaris, Suzanne Mares, Arnoud Arntz, Tineke Abma
Published in Journal of Eating Disorders
Publication date 2022
Research groups Participation, Care and Support
Type Article


"A proportion of those with eating disorders have also experienced traumatic events and ongoing symptoms of PTSD such as re-experiencing of the trauma and nightmares. We implemented an innovative trauma intervention called Imagery Rescripting (ImRs) to explore whether for those undergoing inpatient treatment for an eating disorder (in an underweight phase), it would be possible to treat the various trauma-related symptoms as well as the eating problems. Since this has not been investigated before, we asked the participants in this study to recount their experiences. Twelve participants who were underweight, reported a past history of trauma and were in an inpatient eating disordertreatment program participated in ImRs therapy intervention. One of these participant did not engage in the ImRs therapy because she discontinued the inpatient ED treatment. Analysis of interviews with these participants found that -although they were reluctant before the start of the treatment- the ImRs treatment during their inpatient admission had given them hope again. They added that it was important to have support from group members, sociotherapists and therapists. They shared a number of ways that the ImRs treatment could be adapted to people with eating disorders. Their experiences indicated that given these factors it was possible to treat PTSD during an underweight phase. This is important: until now, treatment for eating disorders has not specifically been trauma-focused and these tips have scope to improve the ImRs intervention and eating disorder treatment more broadly in the future."

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Language English
Published in Journal of Eating Disorders
Key words Eating disorders, Underweight, Anorexia nervosa, PTSD, Trauma treatment, ImRs, Qualitative research

Participation Care and Support