What Are the Challenges That Face a Psychotherapist Working with Self-Harm or Eating Disorders?”

3191 Words Sep 23rd, 2012 13 Pages
Essay Title: “What are the challenges that face a psychotherapist working with Self-harm or eating disorders?”

The focus of this essay will be to examine the challenges a psychotherapist faces when working with eating disorders. Whilst acknowledging eating disorders can include overeating I will base the essay around anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. I will look at the various theories around the subject as well as provide examples of my own experience working within this field.

“I am dying to be thin”. And quite literally death is a strong possibility for people who have an eating disorder. Whether it is anorexia or bulimia the person affected will normally have a distorted body image. Even where there isn’t a morsel
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Many people will develop an eating disorder for the following reasons:

• Need for Control

• Perfectionism,

• High Achiever

• Low Self Esteem

• Depression and Anxiety

• Relational Difficulties

• Media Influence

• Trauma

• Difficulty expressing feelings and thoughts

Some of the symptoms that will often show that a person is suffering from some form of eating disorder include:

• Dramatic weight loss in a relatively short period of time.

• Wearing baggy clothes or dressing in layers to hide body shape and/or weight loss.

• Obsession with weight and complaining of weight problems (even if "average" weight or thin). • Obsession with calories and fat content of foods. • Obsession with continuous exercise. • Frequent trips to the bathroom immediately following meals (sometimes accompanied with water running in the bathroom for a long period of time to hide the sound of vomiting). • Visible food restriction and self-starvation. • Visible bingeing and/or purging. • Use or hiding use of diet pills, laxatives, ipecac syrup (can cause immediate death) or enemas. • Isolation. Fear of eating around and with others. • Unusual food rituals such as shifting the food around on the plate to look eaten; cutting food into tiny pieces; making sure the fork avoids contact with the lips (using
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