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A Case Study of Emotion-Focused Therapy for Bulimia Nervosa Open Access


Other title
mixed methods
case study
emotion-focused therapy
bulimia nervosa
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Banack, Kendell D
Supervisor and department
Whelton, William (Educational Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Leroy, Carol (Elementary Education)
Buck, George (Educational Psychology)
McLeod, John (University of Oslo)
Dunn, William (Secondary Education)
Poth, Cheryl (Educational Psychology)
Department of Educational Psychology
Counselling Psychology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Modern, systematic approaches to case study research have been established. These approaches introduce methodological rigor while retaining the useful aspects of the original psychoanalytic research approach (McLeod, 2010). The primary goal of the current study was to examine emotion-focused therapy (EFT) for bulimia nervosa (BN) through the use of two distinct, yet related case studies employing mixed methods designs. A secondary goal of this research was to situate these case studies within a broader examination of the history and value of case studies in psychotherapy research. This research is laid out in three independent, yet complementary papers represented by Chapters 2, 3, and 4. Chapter 2 is a critical historical review of case study research in psychotherapy. The purpose of this chapter was to further understanding of the role and status of case studies in psychotherapy history and make an argument for the on-going relevance of quality case study research in psychotherapy today. This chapter begins by tracing the history, contributions, and developments of case study research in psychotherapy by linking it to four seminal and representative individuals situated within different theoretical orientations. Factors leading to the demise of the case study and the eventual establishment of systematic approaches to case studies are discussed. Chapter 3 is a mixed methods case study of a young woman with BN and a history of anorexia nervosa treated with EFT. It was written in the style of a pragmatic case study (Fishman, 1999). The main purpose of this study was to explore the session-by-session process and outcome of EFT for BN in this case. Finally, the study in Chapter 4 examined client change from pre- to post-therapy, linking client and therapist perspectives to objective measures of outcome, using the same case of a young woman with BN treated with EFT. This study combined a case study approach with a mixed methods design and is distinct from the modern case study approaches in psychotherapy as articulated by McLeod (2010). Chapters 3 and 4 are the first known studies examining the individual treatment of BN using EFT. The description of the treatment approach and inclusion of large segments of transcript in Chapter 3 will help practitioners to better understand the unique application of EFT to BN. The outcome-focused study in Chapter 4 provides evidence for the effectiveness of EFT for BN in one particular case. These studies provide examples of mixed methods approaches integrated with case study methodology. Overall, this dissertation explores EFT for BN while also situating these studies within a broader examination of the history and value of case study research in psychotherapy.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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