The treatment is aimed at teaching patients to recognise the body's natural signals and need of nutrition. It is also aimed at teaching them to recognise feelings which are wrongly experienced as hunger. These feelings are often suppressed by patients with eating disorders. By making contact with their real feelings they can manage them satisfactorily, e.g. those who feel lonely can do something to avoid loneliness instead of letting it lead to excessive eating.
Patients with eating disorders are often afraid of their real feelings. However, if they learn to recognize them they will realize that they are temporary and not so dangerous as they believed at first.
An effective method of treating patients with eating disorders is based on a combination of theories developed by two eminent psychotherapists, Hilde Bruch and Fredrick Perls.
The treatment helps patients to contact their real feelings and experience body sensations. The therapist encourages patients to feel more, to dive deeper into their inner reality. Step by step their inner reality becomes more understandable. They can then learn to arrange their lives on a basis of their real needs.
The therapist should never tell patients how they ought to feel, or try to explain their feelings, but let them feel and understand themselves. The therapist helps patients to search further without controlling them.