Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Jessica Toft


Social Work


There is an astonishing presence of eating disorders in American culture today, affecting upwards of 11 million individuals, and the treatment for these disorders is becoming increasingly comprehensive. Bulimia nervosa is one of the most common eating disorders, involving episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviors to rid the body of food for fear of weight gain. Using a holistic and procovery-based framework, the present study focused on the perspectives of individuals who described themselves as being in recovery from bulimia and their stories of what helped in the healing process. This researcher created a mixed-method online survey to examine the types of treatment accessed by those who had recovered from bulimia, their attitudes about recovery, and their descriptions of what changed with their relationships to food, body, self, and others during recovery. Descriptive statistics were run on the quantitative data collected, and content analysis was used to describe the responses to the qualitative questions. Participants strongly believed that recovery from bulimia was possible, but achieving it involved significant input from professional, non-professional, and spiritual realms. Professional services were found to be the most important aspect of the recovery process. Spirituality was also a powerful source of strength in healing from bulimia for many participants, though it was not a resource used by the majority. Social workers can use the anecdotal results from this study to provide a realistic, yet hopeful, vision of healing from bulimia to clients who still struggle with the disorder.

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Social Work Commons