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Abstract

The focus of this clinical practice review is to provide clinicians a framework for incorporating technology into the treatment of eating disorders (EDs). We detailed studies that were published within the past 11 years (2002–2012) and that included at least 10 participants. Our primary aims were to describe how technology has been used to enhance the delivery of ED treatment as well as report the effectiveness of these technology-based interventions. We also provided clinical applications and considerations for clinicians who wish to use technology within their own practice. We found that a range of technologies (e.g., televideo, e-mail, CD-ROM, Internet, text message) have been used as a means to either deliver or enhance treatment at various levels of care (e.g., therapy, guided self-help, treatment adjunct). The majority of the studies were based on cognitive– behavioral principles and included samples diagnosed with bulimia nervosa (BN), binge eating disorder (BED), or subclinical levels of BN or BED. Most researchers reported positive results, with a few caveats such as technology-based interventions may not be optimal for individuals with more severe pathology, and some individuals described wanting more personal interaction. The overarching finding was that technology may be successfully integrated within ED treatment and may offer new ways to extend ED interventions to individuals who may not otherwise have access to specialty ED care.

Keywords: eating disorders, technology, telehealth, therapy, guided self-help

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Shingleton R. M., Richards, L. K., & Thompson-Brenner, H. (2013). Using technology within the treatment of eating disorders: A clinical practice review. Psychotherapy, 50(4), 576-582. doi: 10.1037/a0031815

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