Emotional Nurture for Anorexia – Michelle Sparkes

Emotional Nurture for Anorexia

I just listened to an interview on Hack radio regarding ‘Treating Anorexia.’ Canadian professor Louis Charland (?spelling), Philosopher of Science and Bioethicist, was speaking with Sarah McFee about the merits of treating anorexia as a “passion” (an affective disorder of  feelings rather than thinking). He said current cognitive therapies are “just not effective enough” and that people with anorexia “need to feel differently before they start thinking differently”. As a health professional trained in an Emotion Focused approach to counselling, it was wonderful to hear this learned man (who works with 3 psychiatrists treating & researching anorexia) recommend that a person’s emotional experience be given more priority in the treatment of anorexia and other eating disorders. The cognitive therapies have long dominated the field and it could be that the evidence base has been skewed towards them.  Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) is an evidenced based approach to psychotherapy that focuses on the crucial role of the experience of adaptive emotion in therapeutic change. [1]  EFT does not dismiss or deny the importance of cognition but places it within a more holistic, experiential and ‘emotionally focused’  framework, one that I have found to be of immense value in working with people struggling with eating disorders.

For your information:

Hack Radio Interview

Emotion Focused Therapy (Dr Leslie Greenberg)

Institute of Emotionally Focused Therapy (Dr Michelle Webster)

[1] Dr Leslie Greenberg 2010

About the Author

Michelle is a physiotherapist and professional counsellor with lived experience of anorexia, EDNOS and binge-eating in her teen and early adult years. Founder of Women Worth their Weight, and author of Illuminating Anorexia Michelle is passionate about helping people recover from these health and life consuming problems.