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Basic Qualities of a Competent Eating Disorder Therapist

It is generally agreed that trust in the therapeutic relationship in one key to success with most patients, and is fundamental in promoting change in diffident and often resistant eating-disorder patients.
The trust relationship with one's therapist is judged by the patients and former patients as the most important component of treatment quality (de la Rei, Moordenbos, Donker, & van Furth, 2008).
Basic skills are required for the therapist to convey warmth, accurate empathy, genuineness, trust and a collaborative relationship. Particularly, in light of the eating-disorder patient's ambivalence about goals in treatment, it is vital that the therapist be cognizant of the patient's ongoing appraisal of the quality of the relationship. The therapist much strive to convey qualities of appropriate warmth, sensitivity, compassion, genuineness, honesty, flexibility, engagement, acceptance, positive regard, and be acutely attuned to how the patient is feeling about the treatment progress, as well as the therapist's role in this process. The patient's confidence in the therapist's trustworthiness, emotional fortitude, and technical skills are pivotal in establishing a therapeutic connection.

Taken from Chapter 10, (10.6.1), Garner & Keiper, Anorexia and Bulimia, 2009

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