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Title: An Exploration of Heart Rate Variability Reactivity in Response to Compassion Focused Therapy for People with Eating Disorders: A Feasibility Study
Authors: Simmonds, Megan
Supervisors: Allan, Steven
O'Reilly, Mary
Award date: 27-Jun-2016
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: Literature Review: The literature review aimed to explore the treatment outcomes associated with compassion focused therapies. Systematic searches were used to identify studies evaluating compassion focused therapies. Based on the synthesis of eleven empirical papers, compassion focused therapies were found to be associated with increases in self-reassurance and self-esteem, along with decreases in shame, depression, and anxiety. In contrast, the findings suggest that self-criticism is a quality resistant to treatment. More rigorous research is needed to establish the efficacy of compassion focused therapies, and to better understand the mechanisms of change associated with compassion-based approaches. Empirical Paper: The empirical paper was a small-scale feasibility study designed to investigate the effects of compassionate imagery on measures of soothing. Service users from a compassion focused therapy group for eating disorders completed a compassionate imagery task whilst measures were taken of their heart rate variability, social safeness and self-reported soothing. Measures of acceptability and feasibility were also included in the study. Quantitative analyses revealed that practising compassion was generally associated with positive changes in the soothing measures, although these changes were only observed at the end of therapy. Exploring individual differences in the data revealed that not all participants shifted to a soothing response during therapy, and changes in soothing did not always parallel changes in the treatment outcomes. The acceptability and feasibility of the study was confirmed through participation rates and qualitative feedback from a focus group. Extending the research to further explore how changes in compassion, soothing and psychopathology relate to one another was recommended. Critical Appraisal: The critical appraisal provides a reflective account of the research process.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: DClinPsy
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, School of Psychology
Leicester Theses

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