A pilot study of group based compassion focused therapy for low weight eating disorder patients

  • Hannah Andrews

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research


This study looks at the effects of an extended group therapy programme (47 sessions) using Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) for female individuals with low weight eating disorders. In particular, the aim is to evaluate the principle that CFT used in an extended format is more effective in terms of weight restoration and reduction in core psychopathology than the standard CFT treatment (27 sessions).

Six patients participated in the group therapy programme. Standardised self report measures were administered at regular intervals during the treatment process and were used to assess cognitive and behavioural aspects of eating disorders as well as social functioning and wellbeing. Body Mass Index (BMI) was also regularly measured to assess the impact of treatment on weight restoration.

There were statistically significant improvements in Body Mass Index, for all patients increasing in weight during the programme. Other statistically significant improvements were found on the EDE-Q, SEDS, CORE and with self-compassion. These results were significant despite the small sample size of the study.

This study shows significant improvements in the psychological and physical wellbeing of individuals with a low weight eating disorder when provided with an extended group treatment programme using CFT. Due to the current limited pool of therapies available for this client group, there is a need for further research into this new treatment intervention.
Date of Award2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorMargaret Goodman (Supervisor) & Elinor Clarke (Supervisor)

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