The motivating role of recovery self-disclosures from therapists and peers in eating disorder recovery: Perspectives of recovered women.

Patients with eating disorders (EDs) often lack motivation to recover, and interventions designed to increase recovery motivation have not demonstrated to be effective. In fact, few studies have identified factors that increase recovery motivation in patients with EDs. We performed interviews with 13 women who recovered from EDs to identify factors that influenced their motivation to recover. Here, we present exploratory findings about a central theme from these interviews: the importance of hearing from others who had recovered from EDs (i.e., recovery self-disclosures [RSDs]). Of our 13 participants, 11 spontaneously reported that RSDs increased their motivation to recover. RSDs from therapists helped participants realize that recovery was possible, visualize the benefits of recovery, understand the recovery process, and develop stronger relationships with their therapists. RSDs from nontherapists produced similar benefits. Some of our participants who had become ED therapists after recovery reflected on the process of self-disclosing ED history to patients. They described when they choose to self-disclose (e.g., to boost patient motivation to change), what type of information they choose to self-disclose (e.g., information related to the patient’s stage of recovery), and risks of recovery self-disclosures (e.g., stimulating patient competitiveness). Overall, our findings suggest that recovery self-disclosures may increase recovery motivation in patients with EDs. Limitations include discovering the theme of self-disclosure post hoc and exclusively interviewing participants who self-identified as recovered. Future research should identify if RSDs can be used in interventions to boost motivation for change and increase prorecovery behaviors, especially for patients with EDs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)