Cognitive-behavioral couple therapy is a highly efficacious approach for assisting couples experiencing relationship distress. In addition, couple-based interventions often are effective for treating individual disorders. For more than a decade, researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill have been examining how to integrate partners into the treatment of anorexia nervosa and binge-eating disorder to improve treatment response. This workshop will discuss these efforts, including: (a) how eating disorders present within an interpersonal context; (b) how interpersonal relationships can facilitate patients’ progress in treatment; (c) how to employ effective communication to counter significant avoidance present in eating disorders; and (d) how to guide couples in the implementation of behavior change consistent with recovery.
Jennifer S. Kirby, PhD is a Licensed Psychologist and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, and trains and supervises graduate students, psychiatric residents, and professionals in individual and couple therapy using these treatment approaches. Dr. Kirby has participated in the development and evaluation of a number of relationship intervention programs from a cognitive-behavioral perspective. These have included working with couples who are experiencing eating disorders, emotion dysregulation, infidelity, health concerns such as breast cancer, and couples who are preparing for marriage. She also maintains an active private practice with individuals and couples.
Camden E. Matherne, PhD is a Licensed Psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Matherne specializes in eating disorders treatment and research at the UNC Center of Excellence in Eating Disorders. She treats eating disorders in individuals of all ages, with a primary interest in child/adolescent and family therapy. Dr. Matherne also treats individuals with anxiety and depressive disorders at the UNC faculty practice. With the UNC Pediatric Gastroenterology Department, Dr. Matherne contributes to a multidisciplinary clinic treating pediatric functional gastrointestinal disorders. Dr. Matherne enjoys training and supervising psychology and psychiatry trainees in the implementation of evidence-based treatment in these aforementioned domains. Her research background and primary expertise is in the assessment and treatment of pediatric binge eating behaviors. She is additionally involved with research investigating couple-based treatment of eating disorders.
By the end of this lecture, participants will be able to:
1. Name and describe at least 2 ways in which eating disorders affect and are affected by interpersonal relationships;
2. List at least 2 ways in which partners can facilitate (and alternatively limit) eating disorder recovery;
3. Describe 2 sets of communication skills (sharing thoughts and feelings, and decision-making), and how these communication skills can be used in the treatment of eating disorders.
- Baucom, D.H., Kirby, J.S., Fischer, M.S., Baucom, B.R., Hamer, R., & Bulik, C.M. (2017). Findings from a couple-based open trial for adult anorexia nervosa. Journal of Family Psychology, 31(5), 584-591.
- Kirby, J.S., Runfola, C.D., Fischer, M.S., Baucom, D.H., & Bulik, C.M. (2016). Couple-based interventions for adults with eating disorders. In S. Murray, L. Anderson, & L. Cohn (Eds.), Innovations in Family Therapy for Eating Disorders: Novel Treatment Developments, Patient Insights, and the Role of Carers. Abingdon: Routledge.
- Kirby, J.S., Fischer, M.S., Raney, T.J., Baucom, D.H., & Bulik, C.M. (2016). Couple-based interventions in the treatment of adult anorexia nervosa: A brief case example of UCAN. Psychotherapy, 53(2), 241-250.
- Runfola, C.D., Kirby, J.S., Baucom, D.H., Baucom, B.R., Fischer, M.S., Matherne, C.E., Pentel, K.Z., & Bulik, C.M. (2018). A pilot open trial of UNITE-BED: A couple-based intervention for binge-eating disorder. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 51(9), 1107-1112.
UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work Clinical Lecture Series