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Psychomotor therapy and aggression regulation in eating disorders

Evidence-based treatment and performance-based measurement
PhD ceremony:Mr C. (Cees) Boerhout
When:November 06, 2017
Supervisor:prof. dr. H.W. Hoek
Co-supervisors:dr. J.T. van Busschbach, dr. M. Swart
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG
Psychomotor therapy and aggression regulation in eating disorders

This thesis presents a new aggression regulation intervention for individuals with eating disorders (ED). The intervention, developed in psychomotor therapy (PMT), contributes to the need to treat anger and aggression problems in patients with ED, particularly excessive anger internalization. The findings of two randomized controlled trials, one trial in an outpatient setting and a two-centre trial in a day hospital setting, provide first evidence for the added value of PMT as a body and movement-oriented approach to deal with persistent internalizing problems. Furthermore, the outpatient trial showed a reduction in ED psychopathology in the intervention group only. Based on these promising findings, the intervention has recently been included in the new official Dutch practice guideline for the treatment of ED.To measure regulation of anger and aggression this thesis introduces a performance-based measuring method based on physical force production, called the Method of Stamp Strike Shout (MSSS). This instrument aims to contribute to the need for behavioural measures of emotion. The MSSS originates from PMT and meas¬ures the impact of stamping on a force plate, hitting a punching bag, and the amplitude of shouting in a microphone at various force levels. The premise is that these body behaviours stand for the ‘urge to act or shout’ that belongs to anger-related emotions. The MSSS can function as an assessment as well as a treatment tool for regulating anger and aggression. First explorative test find¬ings in a student sample indicate that the reliability of the MSSS is excellent and that associations exist between physical force production and anger coping style, particularly in the Shout subtest performed by women. The trend is that internalizing participants used less force in performing the MSSS than externalizing participants.