Counselling clients with disordered eating : a qualitative study of the therapists’ perspective
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Counselling
Limited research has been conducted into counselling clients who experience difficulties with disordered eating at the sub clinical end of the disordered eating spectrum, in contrast to at the clinical end of the disordered eating spectrum where diagnosed eating disorders present. This current study sought to provide a unique perspective on working therapeutically with clients throughout the disordered eating spectrum by investigating therapists’ perspectives of their work with such clients. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used as the methodology in conducting this research. Three practicing counsellors participated in semistructured interviews through which rich and detailed data was gathered. Analysis of the data revealed four themes: therapists’ perspectives of their clinical role; therapists’ practice with clients experiencing disordered eating; therapists’ perspectives of clients’ experiences with disordered eating; and therapists’ perspectives of educational aspects of therapy. Overall, the findings suggest that therapeutic work with clients with disordered eating is complex and highly individual and the methods and approaches employed by therapists working with these issues ideally reflect this. Detailed descriptions of the four themes are discussed in relation to existing literature. Implications for practice and possible further research suggestions are also outlined.