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Chartonas, D. John-Kamen, A. Freudenthal, R. Gibbons, R. (2020). Psychic room to breathe. Themes emerging within a staff Balint group on an eating disorder inpatient unit. Psychoanal. Psychother., 34(1):4-17.

(2020). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 34(1):4-17

Psychic room to breathe. Themes emerging within a staff Balint group on an eating disorder inpatient unit

Dimitrios Chartonas, Anneka John-Kamen, Robert Freudenthal and Rachel Gibbons

Anorexia nervosa is the psychiatric disorder with the highest mortality rate. Anorexic patients admitted to inpatient eating disorder units are often critically unwell in both their physical and mental health. Underpinning working with these patients is a real feeling that they are close to death. Staff, and particularly nurses, in eating disorder units may find working with anorexic patients extremely challenging. It has been documented that working with such patients can give rise to strong and difficult to process countertransference feelings and reactions. The authors of this paper introduced a Balint group for the staff on an eating disorder inpatient ward to provide a space for the team to reflect on the work. This paper reports on the experience of running this Balint group and describes the themes that gradually emerged. These are then discussed and related to the nature of the disorder and the particular challenges of working with this inpatient population.

[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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