The SPIRED Clinic is an innovative, co-produced eating disorder research clinic, with close ties to the Sussex Eating Disorder Service (SEDS) as well as the University of Sussex. SPIRED was launched in Autumn 2020 and is directed by two consultant clinical psychologist-researchers, Dr Helen Startup and Dr Nicola Gilbert, It also incorporates a research assistant (Cat Papastavrou) an assistant psychologist, an undergraduate intern as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students.
The SPIRED clinic is a group of researchers committed to conducting research which improves the treatment and support available to people with eating disorders. Its main strength is that it is a collaboration; bringing together the expertise and experience of clinicians and people with lived experience of eating disorders in equal partnership.
Through a series of co-production events between the Lived Experience Panel and other members of the SPIRED clinic, six core principles to guide the clinic’s research have been developed:
1. Real-World. Research should make an immediate, practical impact on the lives of people with eating disorders
2. Tailored. Existing evidence-based treatments should be adapted to ensure they work effectively for marginalised groups
3. Hopeful. More research is needed which focuses on improving people’s sense of hope in their recovery from eating disorders
4. Experiential. Research should find ways of conveying the voices and experiences of people with eating disorders, and not solely rely on quantitative outcomes
5. Broad. More evaluation of innovative and creative approaches to eating disorder treatment is needed; considering the therapeutic impact of artistic, occupational and other creative activities as well as the role of peers and family members
6. Democratic. All eating disorder research should be co-produced with people who have lived experience of eating disorders