There is no doubt that eating disorders can be greatly alleviated with cognitive behavioral therapy.
cognitive behavioral therapy helps the sufferer of, for example, anorexia, and many other people, to gain a sense of control over her life, by breaking what seem like insurmountable problems into manageable chunks, which the patient can work on one at a time.
By making sense of them in this way, the sufferer can see how they are connected, and how they affect her. The smaller parts that these problems are broken down into are:
* A Situation - a problem, event or difficult situation From this can follow:
* Physical feelings
All of these are interconnected. How you think about a problem can affect how you feel physically and emotionally. It can also alter what you do about it.
Someone who is suffering from an eating disorder thinks about events from a skewed perspective - one which reinforces her already low self-esteem.
For example, a teacher, with a healthy level of self-esteem, is told by a student one day that his lessons are boring.
Although he may take this on board in the sense that perhaps he realizes that he may need to add a little something to his classes, he will also be aware that this may also be a failing in the student's ability, for example, to concentrate sufficiently.
Somebody suffering from an eating disorder, however, is likely to have the instant reaction of feeling that she's a terrible teacher...not only that, but a terrible bore, and how can she expect anyone to enjoy her lessons, or even want to be around her in a social situation.
A vicious circle begins. The negative thought creates a negative emotion, for example, a feeling of worthlessness. This creates a physical feeling such as nausea or stomach cramps.
All of these cause the sufferer to behave in a detrimental way - to withdraw or become defensive, for example.
This will elicit more negative reactions from other people, and so on and so on.
Cognitive behavioral therapy helps the sufferer of an eating disorder to identify and challenge these thought patterns, and to create new, healthy ones.
A good therapist will also help her to improve her relationship with herself and the significant others in her life.
She'll be encouraged, throughout her therapy, to be honest with herself about her own needs - her real needs - not the need she thinks she has - to starve herself!
Those suffering from eating disorders tend to objectify themselves. They use adjectives such as 'huge' and 'disgusting' to describe themselves, which are applicable to objects, not people.
Her therapist will begin by challenging those beliefs, and will then go on to discuss the real issues of her needs, and help her to find viable and healthy ways to go about fulfilling these.
As she progresses, she will begin to recognize, and just as importantly, accept, that she is responsible for making sure that she works towards fulfilling her real needs.
She may, at some point, become aware of her need for a creative outlet.
After about six months of cognitive behavioral therapy, I certainly became aware of this need myself, and began to sculpt, and then to focus on photography.
Any form of art is useful as an aid to recovery from an eating disorder