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NU7414 Working with People Affected by Eating Disorders (10 ECTS)

Learning Outcomes

Following completion of this module the student should be able to:

  • MLO1. Work with a joint understanding of recovery, illness-facts about eating disorders and its impact on the person, family and society
  • MLO2. Critically appraise professionals’/workers’/carers’ responses and reactions to people with eating disorders and recognise its impact on building, maintain and sustaining a supportive therapeutic relationship with the person
  • MLO3. Discuss the demographics and epidemiology of eating disorders and the dominant explanatory theories
  • MLO4. Demonstrate an understanding of the concept and practice of managing and working with risk in the context of eating disorders
  • MLO5. Implement recovery focussed skills such as; problem-solving, coaching, shared-decision making, safety planning, negotiation, inter and intra interpersonal skills.
  • MLO6. Demonstrate an understanding of the psychopathology of Eating disorders, co morbidity and links with self –harming behaviours
  • MLO7. Examine the principles of assessment, treatment and engagement of working with people across the lifespan affected with an eating disorder
  • MLO8. Demonstrate an awareness of the purpose, role and value of the eating disorder from the person’s perspective across the lifespan
  • MLO9. Critically examine the professional, legal and ethical issues concerning people across the lifespan affected by eating disorders

Module Learning Aims & Rationale

In Ireland, some form of an eating disorder affects approximately 200,000 people, with 400 hundred new cases presenting each year (DoHC 2006). Care, treatment and recovery from an eating disorder are often associated with a relapsing and remitting trajectory. Working with people affected by eating disorders is a complex endeavour for all concerned however, little information or training is available, which enables health care workers to understand and respond more skilfully and effectively to people across the lifespan affected by eating disorders. Increased knowledge can improve health care workers’ early detection of eating disorders.

The aim of this module is to provide participants with a holistic exploration of eating disorders and to equip participants with the core knowledge and skills to identify, manage and engage therapeutically with people across the lifespan recovering from an eating disorder. The module will also examine the responses and attitudes towards people affected by eating disorders and examine how it affects building, maintaining and sustaining a supportive working relationship with the person in a range of settings.

Recommended Reading List

Indicative Resources


  • Brownell, K., Fairburn, C. (2002). Eating disorders and obesity: A comprehensive handbook (2nd ed.): The Guilford Press.
  • Department of Health and Children (2006) ‘A Vision for change’ Report of the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy. Stationary Office, Dublin.
  • Fairburn C. G. (2008) Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Eating Disorders. The Guildford Press, Surrey, UK.
  • Fairburn C.G. (2013) Overcoming Binge Eating 2nd edn, The Guildford Press, Surrey, UK
  • Lock, J., Le Grange, D., Agras, S., Dare, C. (2013) Treatment manual for anorexia nervosa: A family based approach (2nd ed.):The Guilford Press, New York, London
  • Maine M., Hartman McGilley B., & Bunnell D. (2010) Treatment of eating disorders: Bridging the research practice gap. Elsevier, .London, UK
  • O'Dea, S. & Bodywhys (2013) Eating Disorders - A Resource for General Practitioners, Bodywhys, Dublin.
  • Poppink J. (2011) Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder. Conari Press, New York.
  • Roth G. (2010) Women Food and God 2nd edn, Scribner, New York.
  • Treasure J., Smith G. & Crane A. (2007) Skills-based Learning for Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder, The New Maudsley Method. Routledge, London.
  • Zerbe K. J. (2008) Integrated treatment of eating disorders: Beyond the body betrayed. W. W. Norton, New York.


  • Bohon C., Stice E., & Burton E. (2009) Maintenance factors for persistence of bulimic pathology: A prospective natural history study. International Journal of Eating Disorder, 42(2), 173-178.
  • Crisp, A. (2006). Death, survival and recovery in anorexia nervosa: a thirty five year study. European Eating Disorders Review 14(3), 168-175.
  • Currin L., Schmidt U., & Waller G. (2007) Variables that influence diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders within primary care settings: A vignette study. International Journal of Eating Disorders 40, 257-262.
  • Lamoureux M. M. H., & Bottorff J. L. (2005) Becoming the real me: Recovering from anorexia nervosa. Healthcare Women International, 26(2), 170-188.
  • Titular L., Buckroyd J., Klimas J., Creaner M., Wellsted D., Bunn F. & Green G. (2013) Helpful and unhelpful aspects of eating disorders treatment involving psychological therapy.
  • British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy. Retrieved from disorders_review.php
  • Weaver K., Wuest J. & Ciliska D. (2005) Understanding women’s journey of recovering from anorexia nervosa. Qualitative Health Researcher, 15(2), 188- 206.

Web resources

  • Bodywhys -
  • Beat (beating eating disorders)
  • NEDA –

*Other readings will be provided by individual lecturers.