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(2011). Clinical material. J. Child Psychother., 37(2):194-198.

(2011). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 37(2):194-198

Clinical commentaries

Clinical material


Anna is a 23-year-old young woman who was referred to the clinic, a specialist adolescent service, at the age of 20. Her long history of involvement with mental health services had begun at the age of seven, when she was seen for a period of therapy because of concerns about stealing and aggressive behaviour towards other children at school. At the age of 14, she began to develop the symptoms of bulimia – binge eating and self-induced vomiting – the severity of which eventually led to two inpatient admissions. At the age of 19 she had a period of cognitive behavioural therapy. Following this – and still struggling with bouts of bulimic symptoms – Anna had expressed an interest in individual psychotherapy and had been offered three times weekly treatment.

Anna is the only child of a rather late marriage, born after her mother had suffered three miscarriages. She would frequently speak of being unable to reach her mother whom she recalled as “depressed” and withdrawn. Her father, by contrast, was described in an idealised manner, as someone who would “do anything” for her. Anna stated that she preferred not to think about her childhood and rarely spoke about it. She is an attractive young woman, tall and thin, with long wavy black hair and an engaging, self-deprecating manner.

The following session took place during Anna's third year of therapy. Although she had started with three times weekly treatment, she had rarely come to all three sessions, attending sometimes twice and often once a week while at the same time maintaining how important her therapy was to her.

[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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