What methods are used for psychotherapy treatment of eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating?
The main cause of eating disorders may not be an unhappy childhood, but that a person's feelings and physical sensations are in a confusing jumble.
Prior to psychotherapeutic treatment it was not possible for patients to
take responsibility for their inner life or manage it. If effective help
is received, it will eventually be possible for patients to manage
anxiety. The need to use excessive food or hunger as a
, when one wants to diminish negative feelings, will then vanish.
Anxiety is a natural part of one's life which may be experienced and
understood. These negative feelings can be an important source of
information which may give possibilities for one's development.
can often relieve eating disorders. Medicines like
Prozac/Fontex are available in various forms and sometimes may
increase the probability that psychotherapy will be successful.
the patient learns to think effectively e.g. "I am normal and
it is the photographer's models who are abnormally slim" instead
of: "the photographer's models are perfect and I want to look like
them. I must reduce my weight".
one gets help from somebody, or from a computer, in order to
understand and learn how to eat normally. One also gets tips about
other things which can be done instead of eating.
Psychodynamic therapy and psychoanalysis:
unpleasant and painful experiences, usually from childhood, are
examined. The therapist helps patients to interpret their
A problem with treating eating disorders is that patients often have a
strong tendency to be so influenced by those in their surroundings that
they come away from their own feelings and wishes and just do what the
therapist wants. They might accept interpretations which are not based on
their own experiences. There is a risk that the patient learns to accept
the therapists explanations and do not get in contact with his or her own
feelings and physical signals, blaming childhood experiences instead of
getting in contact with their own inner world.
the main point of this method is for patients to learn to
identify their real needs and feelings.
the whole family of a person with eating disorders often needs
help in learning how to manage the problem.
patients must learn to change their eating habits and only eat
wholesome food, which makes it easier for them to recognize their
real needs. They learn to avoid junk food which distorts this ability.
Fat, sugar and white flour are out.
Patients discuss their problems in a group and the realization
that others have similar needs may make it easier to understand
their own problems. Members of the group help each other.