Perceptions of the “anorexic voice”: A qualitative study of health care professionals
Graham MR., Tierney S., Chisholm A., Fox JRE.
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. People with anorexia nervosa (AN) often report experiencing a highly critical inner voice (AV) focused on their eating, shape, and weight. There are promising preliminary findings for its role in the treatment of AN, and the support of staff is vital for the AV to be embedded in treatment, but their views remain unknown. The aims of this study were to undertake a qualitative exploration of the perceptions of the AV among health care professionals (HCPs) in specialist eating disorder services. A thematic analysis was applied to interviews with 15 HCPs, including nurses, therapists, psychiatrists, health care assistants, psychologists, and dietitians. Two overarching themes were identified: “The AV is a vehicle for increasing compassion” and “It's not a one-size-fits-all.” The AV was seen as a means of developing and sustaining compassion, but participants noted that it does not resonate for all clients. All HCPs in this study believed that there was potential benefit in utilizing the AV in their work with people with AN, and it is likely that doing so would help to reduce burnout and frustration within clinical teams.