Qualitative patient experiences from the Self-Blame and Perspective-Taking Intervention for eating disorders

Whitney Smith Hagan, Susan Mericle, Bethany J. Hunt, Jessica A. Harper, Jayme M. Palka, Sarah Pelfrey, Carrie J. McAdams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Problems in social cognition and social support contribute to eating disorders (ED). Group therapy provides an ideal format to create an experiential learning environment focused on understanding social interactions. This pilot study examined the qualitative content of the participants’ experiences in the Self-Blame and Perspective-Taking Intervention (SBPI) for ED. Methods: The SBPI was a 4-week group therapy intervention involving art therapy and psychoeducation that focused on social behaviors in ED patients. Participants received surveys immediately after the intervention and at 1 to 4 weeks after the post-intervention. Thematic analyses of qualitative feedback were performed using Braun and Clarke’s thematic analysis framework. Results: Inductive analyses revealed three main themes: (1) Developing self-acceptance through emotional reflection, (2) Changing expectations with neurosocial knowledge, and (3) Bonding and vulnerability in social interactions; all concepts intentionally targeted by the SBPI. Participants varied in their support of a guideline to exclude personal discussion of ED-related cognitions and behaviors in the group. Conclusions: As a whole, patients valued the combination of psychosocial education with group experientials focused on social behavior. Positive feedback from the SBPI suggests that adjunctive treatments that target mental-wellness constructs indirectly related to ED pathology may be helpful by allowing patients to see themselves as separable from the illness. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT0487758. Registered 7 May 2021—Retrospectively registered. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04877158.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number127
JournalJournal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Attributions
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Perspective-taking
  • Recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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