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Adolescent Focused Psychotherapy for Adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa


The paper describes a manualized specific form on individually based developmentally oriented therapy for Anorexia Nervosa (AN) in adolescents. Adolescent focused psychotherapy for AN is derived from a self-psychology model and is designed to address key deficits in development associated with AN. Adolescents with AN are viewed as using food and weight to avoid negative affective states associated with adolescent developmental issues that they perceive as intolerable. To develop a more constructive coping style and improve self-efficacy, adolescent patients need to first learn to identify and define their emotions, and later, to tolerate emotions, particularly negative ones. In withdrawing from the environment and situations which provoke distress through self-starvation and preoccupations with food and weight, emotional and psychological development is arrested. Learning to identify and cope adaptively with emotions and developmental challenges presented by the environment form the key therapeutic targets of treatment. Specific therapeutic procedures, a case illustration and discussion of therapeutic rationale are also provided.

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Correspondence to James Lock.

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Fitzpatrick, K.K., Moye, A., Hoste, R. et al. Adolescent Focused Psychotherapy for Adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa. J Contemp Psychother 40, 31–39 (2010).

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  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Psychotherapy
  • Developmental
  • Adolescence