This poster will present the results of a recently completed systematic review examining whether therapeutic writing could improve outcomes for clients diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. There is a great need for new and creative psychological therapies for anorexia in particular, as it has the highest bed cost and the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric condition, and few NICE recommended clinical treatments. Interventions which can work with clients’ ambivalence towards recovery are particularly needed. Therapeutic writing is a psychological intervention that uses creative or expressive writing for therapeutic means, often in a group format, lending it well to inpatient and day patient treatment programmes.
For this review, 15 databases were searched for studies with adult participants with symptoms of or risk factors for anorexia. 12 studies carried out in the UK, US and Australia with general / student or clinical populations were identified by two reviewers, and were critically appraised for methodological quality. Data was extracted from the quantitative studies and synthesised narratively in light of the quality assessment, followed by a secondary analysis of the data extracted from the qualitative studies. The quantitative results showed a broadly positive trend, indicating that therapeutic writing may improve outcomes for clients recovering from anorexia. Qualitative results indicated that brief therapeutic writing interventions can access a depth of emotional experience. Further details of these results, limitations of the review and indications for future research will be briefly outlined in this poster.