Group

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 67–77 | Cite as

The use of group therapy to help women with eating disorders differentiate and articulate affect

  • F. Diane Barth
Article

Abstract

In this discussion of eating disorders, symptoms are viewed as responses to unprocessed and unprocessable affect—what Stolorow and Atwood, Krystal, and Sifneos have called “alexithymia.” The article explores ways in which a group experience can help to provide an arena for the articulation and exploration of this affect. The group can provide its members with the responsive milieu necessary for the development of an internal structure that eliminates the need for the eating behavior. The metaphor of a child learning to swim is used to suggest that the group process can be seen as a kind of group “swimming lesson.” Group members work together with the therapist to develop the necessary skills and muscles to negotiate the waves of their own feelings, making the eating behavior unnecessary.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Agazarian, Y. (1989). Group-as-a-whole systems theory and practice.Group, 13(3/4), 131–154.Google Scholar
  2. Barth, F. D. (1988). The treatment of bulimia from a self psychological perspective.Clinical Social Work Journal, 16(3), 198–210.Google Scholar
  3. Barth, F. D. (1989). Blaming the parent: Psychoanalytic myth and language.Annual of Psychoanalysis, 17, 185–201.Google Scholar
  4. Barth, F. D. (1991). When the patient abuses food. In H. Jackson (Ed.),Using self psychology in psychotherapy. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  5. Barth, F. D., & Wurman, V. (1986). Group therapy with bulimic women: A self psychological approach.International Journal of Eating Disorders, 5(4), 735–745.Google Scholar
  6. Beresin, E., Gordon, C., & Herzog, D. (1989). The process of recovering from anorexia nervosa. In J. R. Bemporad & D. B. Herzog (Eds.),Psychoanalysis and eating disorders. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  7. Bollas, C. (1987).The shadow of the object: Psychodynamics of the unthought known. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Boskind-White, M., & White, W. C. (1983).Bulimarexia: the binge/purge cycle. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  9. Brenner, D. (1983). Self regulatory functions in bulimia.Contemporary Psychotherapy Review, 1, 79–96.Google Scholar
  10. Brenner-Liss, D. (1986). Bulimia: A self-psychological and ego-developmental view.American Mental Health Counselors Association Journal, 8, 211–220.Google Scholar
  11. Cauwells, J. M. (1983).Bulimia: The binge-purge compulsion. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  12. Garner, D. M., & Garfinkel, P. E. (Eds.) (1985).Handbook of psychotherapy for anorexia nervosa and bulimia. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  13. Hornak, N. (1983). Group treatment for bulimia: Bulimics anonymous.Journal of College Student Personnel, 24, 461–462.Google Scholar
  14. Hotelling, K. (1987). Curative factors in groups for women with bulimia. In C. M. Brody (Ed.),Women's therapy groups. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  15. Johnson, C., Connors, M., & Stuckey, M. (1983). Short-term group treatment for bulimia.International Journal of Eating Disorders, 2, 199–208.Google Scholar
  16. Krystal, H. (1988).Integration and self healing: Affect, trauma, alexithymia. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lang, J. (1984). Notes toward a psychology of the feminine self. In P. E. Stepansky & A. Goldberg (Eds.),Kohut's Legacy. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press.Google Scholar
  18. McDougall, J. (1989).Theaters of the body: A psychoanalytic approach to psychosomatic illness. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  19. Mitchell, S. (1988).Relational concepts in psychoanalysis: An integration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Mitchell, J., Hatsukami, D., Goff, G., Pyle, R., Eckert, E., & Davis, L. (1985). Intensive outpatient group treatment for bulimia. In D. Garner & P. Garflnkel (Eds.),Handbook of psychotherapy for anorexia nervosa and bulimia. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  21. Ogden, T. (1986).The matrix of the mind: Object relations and the psychoanalytic dialogue. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  22. Riess, H., & Rutan, S. (1992). Group therapy for eating disorders: A step-wise approach.Group, 16, 79–83.Google Scholar
  23. Sifneos, P. (1967). Clinical observations on some patients suffering from a variety of psychosomatic diseases. Cited in Krystal, H. (1988).Integration and self healing: Affect, trauma, alexithymia. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press.Google Scholar
  24. Stolorow, R., & Atwood, G. (1992).Contexts of being: The intersubjective foundations of psychological life. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press.Google Scholar
  25. Yalom, I. D. (1970).The theory and practice of group psychotherapy. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Diane Barth
    • 1
  1. 1.New York

Personalised recommendations