Eating Disorders and Therapeutic Relationship

Nutritional disorders, the most fatal of all mental health disorders, kill and tarnish between 6 and 13% of their victims, 87% of whom are children under 20. "Best Practice" treatment strategies for patients with anorexia nervosa , and eating disorder disorder often does not achieve timely and sustainable recovery results. Besides eating dietary dysfunction, eating disorders represent harm to the patient's self, as it results from the loss of self-confidence, self-control, self-regulation, self-preservation and emotional endurance, so necessary to counter adversity and trust – building life opportunities.

The development and recovery of the reintegrated treatment of self disorders in the treatment of eating disorder is best facilitated by the careful and flexible use of the therapist's own in a qualitative therapeutic relationship, the inclusion of parents and families in the treatment process where necessary and the assessment of the fact that in the context of clinical therapy, healing changes in behavior and behavior of the patient represent therapeutic changes in the brain valent.

Eating disorders and loss of self

From infancy to adulthood, self-development occurs mainly in the context of human relationships, whether personal, family or professional. Loss of connection with the original self of the nutritionally disturbed individual becomes apparent cognitively, emotionally, physiologically, neurologically and socially, generally rendering victims resistant to accepting diagnosis and participation in healing. Connection losses can be observed in:

  • Lack of neurobiological connectivity between the brain regions and within the distributed connections between the brain based on the cranial cells and the embedded self.
  • The loss of the patient's healthy relationship with food.
  • Loss of connection with important others due to social withdrawal.
  • Malfunctioning moods for disordered individuals, which often aggravate the challenges of commitment to treatment and the continuity of care.
  • Feeling disconnected from feelings and feeling. the consumption of disturbed individuals may not recognize the symptoms of disturbed disorder as signs of dysfunction, denying the existence of a problem.
  • Withdrawal from important others that may lead parents to talk about their disturbed children as "strangers." Where weight and behaviors are usually beyond normal, eating disorders ironically extend very rarely to doctors' offices during medical examinations and laboratory tests. Non-proliferation of dysfunctional behaviors is also typical in psychotherapeutic offices, in the light of patient's fear of stigma, rejection, or addressing the reality of the need for recovery.

Self-reintegration, a key prognostic factor for achieving positive mental health (Siegel, 2006) and a point of reference for the complete relief of eating disorder, is reinforced by the forms of therapy that facilitate the connections between humans, brain-brain- brain body.

Because eating disorders are mainly disorder of association, therapeutic action in the success of any treatment methodology occurs within the context of the therapeutic relationship.

Parents and families as rehabilitation lawyers

Eating disorders are involved in relationships between family members. As disorders of the family system, eating disorders occur everywhere in the context of daily living, next to important others, at kitchen tables, restaurants, family bathrooms, school and workplaces. Although they are generally not responsible for causing eating disorders stemming from genetic and idiosyncratic sensitivities, parents involved in the treatment of their child and engaged in psycho-education enjoy the potential to promote prevention and / or rehabilitation. Knowledge of eating disorders, the complex nature of their treatment and recovery, and their role in recovering their child (especially when the child remains in outpatient care while staying at home), parents can become "precious players" in the treatment of their child's team.

Recovering patients who face the demands and challenges of a healthy diet throughout the day do not exceed an average of 50 minutes per week in person-to-person contact with professionals who help. Trained parents can help fill this gap. By understanding that the nature of the parental support provided should be changed to bring it into line with the changing needs of the child as they progress, family involvement in therapy gives both the patient and the family voice and ear, expression and listening to emotions, and solving conflicts and problems. By connecting with their child and learning how to understand, coaching and supporting their loved one, parents enhance the emotional development and self-care of their child.

The bond and trust developed in family therapy write the path for ultimate separation and personalization of the patient, increasing the child's capacity for autonomy and healthy self-regulation. Family meetings also reduce the likelihood of breakage and / or confidentiality violations that could otherwise endanger a multidisciplinary teamwork process. If they are not part of the solution, family members are at risk of becoming part of the problem.

The patient / therapist relationship in research

Because eating disorders are mainly disorder of association, therapeutic action in the success of any treatment methodology occurs within the context of the therapeutic relationship. The confidence that develops between the therapist and the patient in the healing process re-establishes the patient's confidence in reconnecting to his own exile self. The conscious healing relationship is ideally the prototype for other healthy, quality relationships elsewhere in the patient's life outside the treatment system. Dr. Christopher Germer, at Sensitization and Psychotherapy (Germer, 2005), considers that attention to therapeutic practice is the path towards the establishment of a healthy, therapeutic relationship of healing. She speaks of the healing relationship as "an intervention by itself" with empathy that represents "as much as and possibly a greater outcome than the specific intervention". It describes good healing relationships as "the most powerful of all healing therapies in a mental health area" (Germer) that provides the path of an eating disorder.

According to Dr. Allan Schore, through the quality of the human relationship, "deficits in the internal working patterns of the self and the world are gradually rectified" (Schore, 1996). Schore describes a phenomenon between the therapist and the patient called "empathic resonance" (Schore & Schore, 2008), which results in the right brain hemisphere of the patient being altered neurophysiologically in form and function in response to a conscious and qualitative connection to the operation of the right brain hemisphere of the therapist. Right brain skills towards the right human mind through conscious psychotherapeutic attachment often lead to the sensed "feeling" in the patient, creating a state of nervous activation consistently when it is shown to improve the patient's self-regulation capacity "(Siegel, 2006 ).

A qualitative patient-therapist relationship sets the foundations for the patient's own development apart from establishing a complete and sustained recovery of a nutrition disorder.

Bibliographical references:

  1. Germer, C. K., Siegel, R.D., & Fulton, P. (2005). Sensitization and psychotherapy. New York, New York: Guilford Press.
  2. National Association of Nutritional Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  3. Schore, J. R. & Schore, A. N. (2008). Modern attachment theory: The central role affects regulation in development and healing. Journal of the Clinical Social Work, 36(1), 9-20. two:
  4. Siegel, D.J. (2006). An interpersonal approach to neurobiology in psychotherapy. Sensitization, mirror neurons and neural plasticity in the development of well-being. Psychiatric Annals, 36(4), 248-256. Retrieved from

© Copyright 2018 All rights reserved. A publication authorization is granted by Abigail Natenshon MA, LCSW, GCFP, a therapist at Highland Park, Illinois

The previous article was written only by the author defined above. Any views and opinions are not necessarily expressed by Questions or concerns about the previous article may be directed to the author or published as a comment below.