Redefining Therapy: Writing’s Role in Eating Disorder Treatment  

Carina Blomberg, Jonathan Bradshaw, Kloo Hansen, Undergraduate Research Office Coordinator, Western Carolina University, 1 University Way, Cullowhee, NC 28723

Over the past fifty years, eating disorders, specifically anorexia-nervosa, have held the title as the mental disorders with the highest percentage of mortalities, with a rate of one death every sixty-two minutes. Action must be taken to prevent patients from becoming part of the statistic. Expressive writing therapy is one method researchers have found beneficial in improving the psychological and physiological health of its users. This presentation will examine the implications and outcomes of expressive writing therapy in treatment settings, and how together, Writing Studies and Psychology can revolutionize the medical field. The use of case study examples and the synthesis of scholarship from the fields of Expressive Writing and recovery-based Psychology will demonstrate the power of metaphors and narration to heal, as well as what medical professionals can do to help patients. As shown by previous studies, the use of metaphors is effective because they allow writers to unconsciously express emotions that otherwise may be too difficult to address. Metaphors reframe how writers interpret a situation and therefore help them to overcome a traumatic experience. Through narratives, writers document their journey’s through illness, treatment, and recovery. By illustrating their story not only can they understand their past, but they begin to unravel their future, increasing motivation for what lies ahead. This presentation argues that when patients are made aware of the positive implications of expressive writing, they will gain access to a valuable skill to aid in their recovery and life beyond treatment. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Carina Blomberg

Institution: Western Carolina University

Type: Poster

Subject: Writing & Rhetoric

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 11
Date/Time: Wed 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 7169