February 6, 2012 by Deanna James, LPC, CEDS in Clinical Articles, Eating Disorder Relapse In a recent update from EDReferral, the largest eating Disorder Referral and Information service, a recent study regarding self forgiveness and eating disorders was sited. This study investigated whether low levels of self-forgiveness were associated with eating disorder symptomatology. Participating women (N = 51) had diagnoses of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or no eating disorder diagnosis. They completed 3 measures of self-forgiveness. Women with eating disorders had lower levels of self-forgiveness compared with control participants. Results suggest that incorporating self-forgiveness interventions into current eating disorder treatments should be evaluated in future research as they might enhance clinical outcomes. Source: Eat Disord. 2012 Jan;20(1):31-41. PMID: 22188058 [PubMed - in process].
This research points to an interesting concept in Eating Disorder treatment: looking at the underlying causes of ED symptomatology and incorporating this into treatment. Working through shame, guilt, self-blame, and other factors can significantly help clients stop the shame-guilt cycle that often leads to ED behaviors. Self-forgiveness includes, self compassion and self acceptance. This research is one small step towards researching what those who treat already know: ED treatment is about more than relapse prevention and behavior modification. It is about working through the underlying causes, the self-hate messages, and finding compassion for oneself. We encourage those that are putting research efforts behind comprehensive treatment.