Terms like anorexic are problematic for me.  The term itself is not particularly descriptive of the individual’s experience and seems to give the problem the permission to be there – “If I am an anorexic, then I can behave like one”.  I prefer to consider clients who are involved in not-eating rituals as supporting a “not-eating-campaign” in their lives.  Often this campaign is designed to achieve certain ends.  Such clients tend to have an ambiguous relationship with not eating.  On the one hand, deeply involved and attached to not-eating rituals and on the other hand, tormented by this constant struggle.  The lives of such clients are largely dictated by a constant eat-not-eat dialogue.  This dialogue itself seems to be designed to achieve certain things with themselves and those around them.  For therapy to focus purely on eat-not-eating simply encourages this dialogue and supports its limiting influence.  Sometimes conversations outside of eating are necessary in order to salvage the person’s life from this life-narrowing campaign.  Salvaging aspects of the person’s life that are not yet influenced by (or would rather not be influenced by) not-eating, helps diminish the influence of the not-eating-campaign.        

Published by Jason Ross

Jason Ross is a Counselling Psychologist with a fervent interest in the use of LANGUAGE and TEXT. His areas of practice include: injury and illness psychology, sexual health, relationships and addiction.