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Therapist written goodbye letters: evidence for therapeutic benefits in the treatment of anorexia nervosa

Simmonds, J; Allen, KL; O'Hara, CB; Bartholdy, S; Renwick, B; Keyes, A; Lose, A; ... Schmidt, U; + view all (2020) Therapist written goodbye letters: evidence for therapeutic benefits in the treatment of anorexia nervosa. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy 10.1017/S1352465820000089. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Despite their use in clinical practice, there is little evidence to support the use of therapist written goodbye letters as therapeutic tools. However, preliminary evidence suggests that goodbye letters may have benefits in the treatment of anorexia nervosa (AN). Aims: This study aimed to examine whether therapist written goodbye letters were associated with improvements in body mass index (BMI) and eating disorder symptomology in patients with AN after treatment. Method: Participants were adults with AN (n = 41) who received The Maudsley Model of Anorexia Treatment for Adults (MANTRA) in a clinical trial evaluating two AN out-patient treatments. As part of MANTRA, therapists wrote goodbye letters to patients. A rating scheme was developed to rate letters for structure and quality. Linear regression analyses were used to examine associations between goodbye letter scores and outcomes after treatment. Results: Higher quality letters and letters that adopted a more affirming stance were associated with greater improvements in BMI at 12 months. Neither the overall quality nor the style of goodbye letters were associated with improvements in BMI at 24 months or reductions in eating disorder symptomology at either 12 or 24 months. Conclusions: The results highlight the potential importance of paying attention to the overall quality of therapist written goodbye letters in the treatment of AN, and adopting an affirming stance.

Type: Article
Title: Therapist written goodbye letters: evidence for therapeutic benefits in the treatment of anorexia nervosa
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S1352465820000089
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1352465820000089
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: anorexia nervosa, eating disorders, goodbye letters, psychotherapy, treatment
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097544
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