Eating Disorders Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Eating Disorders Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) embodies the idea of allowing thoughts and emotions to come forth in situations instead of ignoring them. In ACT, instead of disregarding negative incoming emotions, the patient is encouraged to recognize and accept them, and then redirect their energy toward achieving healthy goals and behavior (Heffner, Sperry, Eifert, Detweiler, 2002). This is what differentiates ACT from MBCT. (“www.docdroid.net”)

A West Virginia case study was done on a 15-year-old female with anorexia to demonstrate how ACT techniques might be successfully incorporated into an eating disorder treatment plan (Heffner et al., 2002).

To reiterate Fairburn’s (1996) previous statement, individuals with eating disorders, specifically anorexia in this case, have an ardent desire for control. “Restricting food is a means of regaining a sense of control in one’s life (Heffner et al., 2002).” (“www.docdroid.net”)

As mentioned before, the aim of an ACT approach is allowing negative thoughts and emotions to come forth. (“www.docdroid.net”) The patient in this case study practiced several ACT exercises that were intended to reduce her anorexic symptoms.

One example is called the bus driver metaphor. The patient was to pretend she was a bus driver and her negative thoughts about her weight or body were the passengers. (“www.docdroid.net”)

As the passengers tried to interfere and get her to take the anorexic road, the patient had to continue in her valued direction without reacting to the negative thoughts.

“The patient was to keep a journal and record which direction she chose to take that day.” (“www.docdroid.net”) The result from this treatment plan was a decrease in most anorexic symptoms (Heffner et al., 2002).

Although many of the patient’s anorexic symptoms decreased, she still struggled with a poor body image. This is expected for an ACT treatment plan, for the overall goal of this approach is not to eliminate eating disorder thoughts, but simply to accept them and focus on positive aspects of one’s life (Heffner et al., 2002).

Best Wishes, Coyalita

Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Specialist

See Tomorrow: “Yoga Interventions.”

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