The Therapist’s Experience of Working With the Anorexic Client

Green, Emma
Solomon, Margot
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Master of Psychotherapy
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Auckland University of Technology

The anorexic client is often seen as difficult to engage and as evoking intense negative feelings, including anger, frustration, helplessness and hopelessness, in those trying to help (Satir et al, 2009). This can interfere with care provision and treatment, because of the impact on the therapist in the therapy relationship (Stewart et al, 2006) but also on other helping professionals and family members. The writer?s experience of working with anorexic clients is one of being kept out, and often feeling hopeless and useless. Using a hermeneutic methodology, this dissertation seeks to understand the therapist?s experience with the anorexic client, particularly the difficulties encountered in engaging the client and in developing a working alliance. This is done through a hermeneutic review of the literature.

If psychopathology can be thought of as the crystallization of culture (Bordo, 1997) and if we can read the body as inscribed surface or text (Malson and Burns, 2009) then the therapeutic engagement with the anorexic client is potentially a rich source of information in terms of female developmental ?norms? in a patriarchal system and the Western context in which this writer dwells.

Anorexic , Anorexia , Hermeneutic , Literature review , Countertransference , Therapist's experience , Eating disorder
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