Group schema therapy for eating disorders: Study protocol

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Eating Disorders, 2018, 6 (1)
Issue Date:
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© 2018 The Author(s). Background: The treatment of eating disorders is a difficult endeavor, with only a relatively small proportion of clients responding to and completing standard cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Given the prevalence of co-morbidity and complex personality traits in this population, Schema Therapy has been identified as a potentially viable treatment option. A case series of Group Schema Therapy for Eating Disorders (ST-E-g) yielded positive findings and the study protocol outlined in this article aims to extend upon these preliminary findings to evaluate group Schema Therapy for eating disorders in a larger sample (n = 40). Methods/design: Participants undergo a two-hour assessment where they complete a number of standard questionnaires and their diagnostic status is ascertained using the Eating Disorder Examination. Participants then commence treatment, which consists of 25 weekly group sessions lasting for 1.5 h and four individual sessions. Each group consists of five to eight participants and is facilitated by two therapists, at least one of who is a registered psychologist trained on schema therapy. The primary outcome in this study is eating disorder symptom severity. Secondary outcomes include: cognitive schemas, self-objectification, general quality of life, self-compassion, schema mode presentations, and Personality Disorder features. Participants complete psychological measures and questionnaires at pre, post, six-month and 1-year follow-up. Discussion: This study will expand upon preliminary research into the efficacy of group Schema Therapy for individuals with eating disorders. If group Schema Therapy is shown to reduce eating disorder symptoms, it will hold considerable promise as an intervention option for a group of disorders that is typically difficult to treat. Trial registration:ACTRN12615001323516. Registered: 2/12/2015 (retrospectively registered, still recruiting).
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