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The lived experience of working with people with eating disorders: A meta-ethnography

Graham, Meghan R, Tierney, Stephanie, Chisholm, Amy and Fox, John R E 2020. The lived experience of working with people with eating disorders: A meta-ethnography. International Journal of Eating Disorders 53 (3) , pp. 422-441. 10.1002/eat.23215

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Abstract

Objective Working with people with eating disorders (EDs) is known to elicit strong emotional reactions, and the therapeutic alliance has been shown to affect outcomes with this clinical population. As a consequence, it is important to understand healthcare professionals' (HCPs') experiences of working with this client group. Method A meta‐synthesis was conducted of qualitative research on HCPs' lived experiences of working with people with EDs. The results from the identified studies were analyzed using Noblit and Hare's meta‐ethnographic method. Data were synthesized using reciprocal translation, and a line of argument was developed. Results Thirty‐seven studies met the inclusion criteria. Reciprocal translation resulted in a key concept: “Coping with caring without curing.” This was underpinned by the following third‐order concepts: (a) “The dissonance and discomfort of being a helper struggling to help,” (b) “Defending against the dissonance,” and (c) “Accepting the dissonance to provide safe and compassionate care.” These concepts were used to develop a line‐of‐argument synthesis, which was expressed as a new model for understanding HCPs' experiences of working with people who have an ED. Discussion Although the conflict associated with being a helper struggling to help led some HCPs to avoid and blame people with EDs, others adopted a compassionate stance characterized by humanity, humility, balance, and awareness.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0276-3478
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 November 2019
Date of Acceptance: 23 November 2019
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2021 03:02
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/127249

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