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Gunborg PalmeĀ“s Method for Treating Eating Disorders

Written by: Gunborg Palme, certified psychologist and certified psychotherapist, teacher and tutor in psychotherapy.

First version: 22 Jul 2008. Latest revision: 16 Aug 2008.

Question:

 How does Gunborg Palme treat eating disorders?

Answer:

Gunborg Palme has developed a method for treating patients with eating disorders based on a combination of the work of Hilde Bruch, Frederick Perls and Sheldon Litt. The foundation of this method is the patient's own thoughts, feelings, needs and experiences, not the therapist's interpretations. Patients are requested to concentrate on their inner-personal region and see how it feels. When patients inform the therapist about their various feelings and experiences, they are then requested to concentrate on and contact the various feelings and sensations. With this increased awareness of their inner processes the patients have a tool with which to manage their eating, their feelings and their way of life.

After treatment, the patients are responsible for their actions and can choose to overeat or not, but they cannot put the blame on anybody else. The therapist helps patients to learn how to structure their experiences of reality and can also indicate alternatives. Patients don't console themselves with food because of an unhappy childhood but because their feelings and physical impressions are in a confusing mess.

Before therapy they lacked the tools to take responsibility and tidy up their inner-personal region. After therapy, patients accept their anxiety feelings and no longer want to drug themselves with food or starvation in order to avoid their feelings. Anxiety is a natural part of an individual's adjustment to life. It does not need to be eaten away but can, with diligent practice, be experienced and understood. It contains information which is important for the individual's further development. Those with eating disorders try desperately to avoid mental anguish and use food or starvation as their aids. These are quick and effective tranquillising drugs, but with certain unwanted secondary effects.

Different ways of treating eating disorders

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