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Koplow, B. (1993). Mustn't Bite the Hand That Feeds: The Boy Who Refused to Eat. J. Child Psychother., 19(2):23-36.

(1993). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 19(2):23-36

Mustn't Bite the Hand That Feeds: The Boy Who Refused to Eat

Bret Koplow

An unremarkable diet had characterised Aaron E.'s nine years of life, that is, until a few months prior to intake. During that period, no solid food had passed Aaron's lips and his sustenance had become entirely dependant upon liquid nutritive supplements. His teeth had begun to decalcify; his weight had begun to drop, though not with such significance as to warrant a diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa. Although several presenting problems were enumerated by his mother on the application for service, including separation anxiety and low self-esteem, only “DOES NOT EAT’ was printed in capital letters as well as underlined three times. Aaron's refusal to eat was clearly his mother's greatest conscious concern.

Background Data

At intake, Aaron was a nine year old Caucasian of Jewish parents. His only sibling, a brother three and half years older, was described by Aaron and his parents as having “no problems”. Both parents were employed, his father as a skilled professional, his mother as a secretary at both Aaron's school and her own parents’ small business. Both were college educated.

Self and parental reporting emphasised Aaron's social and athletic skills. His grades and IQ fell within the average range. Recent eating patterns had not diminished his academic, social or athletic performances.

Both sets of grandparents resided in the local area. Aaron's mother, in fact, was employed by her own parents and the family received additional financial support from her parents as well as from the paternal grandparents.

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