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Trauma-informed care and practice for eating disorders: Personal and professional perspectives of lived experiences
journal contributionposted on 29.04.2020, 00:00 by TD Brewerton, June Alexander, J Schaefer
Background: Learning about the life stories of patients who have experienced a severe eating disorder (ED), but also traumas that led to PTSD, dissociative disorders, and other comorbidities, has great value to clinicians in their efforts to deliver trauma-informed care (TIC). Many investigators have been researching and writing about these issues for years, and strong scientific evidence has emerged, indicating that trauma is a significant risk factor for the development of EDs, particularly in its bulimic forms. Purpose: Peer-reviewed literature contains scarce input from people with “lived experiences”. Hearing and “sitting with” such individuals are extremely useful in clinical practice and research. Further, encouraging patients to put words to their pain has recognized therapeutic effects. These lived experiences are often demonstrative of key elements of what professionals need to know about evaluating and treating patients with EDs and co-occurring trauma-related disorders. Method/results: The principal author invited two courageous recovered ED advocates and writers (June Alexander and Jenni Schaefer), who have gone public about their ED–PTSD experiences, to recount their life stories and treatment experiences (both positive and negative). Dr. Brewerton then offers his professional perspectives on the course of their treatment experiences put in the context of ongoing relevant clinical research. Conclusion: Their and other patients’ experiences have great power to guide professionals toward trauma-informed care, more integrated practice, and theoretically improved outcomes.