Date of Paper

5-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Lance Peterson

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the use of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) with clients who have an eating disorder co-occurring with a history of childhood sexual abuse. Qualitative interviews were conducted with nine mental health clinicians who work primarily in the outpatient setting using EMDR with their clients. These audio-recorded interviews took place over a period of three weeks and the data were analyzed using grounded theory methodology. The most common themes that emerged were client-therapist relationship, stabilization of eating disorder, chronology of treatment, grounding, and dissociation. Given the high co-occurrence of childhood sexual abuse and eating disorders, the serious and pernicious nature of eating disorders, and the growing body of research that points to EMDR as a highly successful method for treating a variety of conditions including trauma, it is important that research into the use of EMDR with this population be continued.

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