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Kadish, Y. (2016). From Knowing to Discovering: Some Suggestions for Work with Anorexic Patients. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 15(4):298-308.

(2016). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 15(4):298-308

From Knowing to Discovering: Some Suggestions for Work with Anorexic Patients

Yael Kadish, Ph.D.

In this article I offer some technical suggestions for psychoanalytic work with anorexic patients. Although focused on an outpatient setting, certain parts of the article will also have utility for inpatient work. As an outpatient therapist working with an anorexic patient, especially in the acute stages of the illness, there are case management demands that need immediate attention. The setting up the particular frame is required to augment the therapeutic work. The most urgent pressure felt by the clinician is the precariousness of the patient’s physical health. This can be experienced as if there is a gun to the head of the therapist. This deathly force must be carefully and constantly grappled with, and particularly so in the most symptomatic stages of the illness. The clinician must work with a patient who might die at any time, yet an anorexic patient cannot be managed the way a suicidal patient would be. The question of technique in this situation is a complex one. Above all, the patient must be met where s/he is. Notwithstanding the uniqueness of each patient there are some specific themes that often arise in the acute stage of the illness. Certain technical suggestions are offered.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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