Canadian Researcher Looks for People with Anorexia

As anorexia and other eating disorders have attracted increasing attention and concern among the public as well as researchers, efforts to understand how such problems develop and how they may be treated have gained significant momentum. One doctoral candidate at the University of Alberta is attempting to broaden the body of research on anorexia by recruiting people affected by the eating disorder for an investigation of the emotional components of living with anorexia. The researcher, whose goal of working with at least ninety participants has been described as notably ambitious, hopes to incorporate emotion-focused therapy into discussions with participants to examine whether they are themselves aware of their emotional experience, and to assess how such an experience may carry common traits across a wide variety of people.

Potentially leading to new types of treatment for clients suffering from anorexia and other eating disorders, the research is aimed at producing methodologies that can be combined with modern techniques, rather than replacing them, the researcher notes. In particular, the work will take an in-depth look at the emotions that can lead to relapses of starvation following the establishment of progress. Because people with anorexia are maladaptive, the researcher suggests, being able to cope with new and stressful situations may prove to great a challenge, leading to self-destructive behavior that can serve as a distraction.

Through exploring the emotional environment of those with anorexia, the research may add a great deal of knowledge to the study of the eating disorder, which is typically analyzed for other factors such as environmental circumstances or the ability of nutritional counseling to help ward off physical symptoms. Though the work has yet to be produced, and many willing participants still need to be found, the results are already being anticipated by some in the field.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Valerie Anne Klaassen

    Valerie Anne Klaassen

    April 22nd, 2010 at 10:10 AM

    Hello, my name is Valerie Klaassen. What I am doing is getting blog therapy, because sometimes when Doctor Levrini is not able to return my call, I would like to blog with my therapist. Thank you very much.

    Valerie Klaassen



    April 22nd, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    Eating disorders are some of the most-prominent issues in the field of health today…There are many people that suffer from some kind of eating disorder and any kind of research leading to better treatment methods is a welcome relief.

  • Hannah


    April 23rd, 2010 at 2:56 AM

    So is this going to be a research situation where the doctor will introduce different stresses to these participants who live with anorexia to see how theye handle it and this affects their esting disorder? This body of work could be vastly useful but I hope that throughout they will provide all with superior treatment so that no one gets worse as a result.

  • richardson


    April 23rd, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    although anorexia is prevalent,I just wonder how prevelant it is in a country like ours…yes,there may be people starving themselves in the name of dieting but then anorexia is different!

  • Cal


    April 24th, 2010 at 5:15 AM

    How many new studies need to be conducted to get a real grasp on this genre of the eating disorder? I know that it is valid study for certain, but we already know what leads to it, but will there ever be any real way to prevent it and to keep anyone from developing the disorder? I think that is highly unlikely. Many times before anorexia is even detected the person with the problem has already been struggling with it for a while and are in need of serious therapy. If this is research that could help to prevent anorexia from even developing then I agree that it serves its purpose but if it is more of the same, then how is this possibly going to help?

  • Henry


    April 24th, 2010 at 7:48 AM

    People do not need a speccialist to tell them what they are doing wrong to themselves by not eating enough or over-eating…their body tell this to them by itself and people should have enough sense to actually understand this and take the appropriate action…but its just the obsession with being slim that often leads to not eating enough and stress leading to over-eating.

  • Pauletter


    April 25th, 2010 at 5:21 AM

    See this is where there is so much misunderstanding about eating disorders. Most of them do not derive from an obsessive need to be thin. No they come about as a way for someone to feel in control of their lives in some way. They may feel out of control in many aspects of their lives but this is something that they and only they can control and they like finally having that feeling. To think that it is all about the food and being thin is way off base. This is why more studies and research does need to be completed in this area, simply because there is so much misunderstanding about the subject.

  • Faith


    April 26th, 2010 at 3:14 AM

    Are there going to be that many people who are going to be willing to be a part of a research study like this? It seems like so amny anorexics are very ambivalent about getting treatment, especially plans that force them to deal with not only their eating habits but also their emotions as well. How will they find enough particiants to make this study valuable and worthwhile?

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