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Int J Group Psychother. 2007 Apr;57(2):167-85.

A self psychological and relational approach to group therapy for university students with bulimia.

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  • 1University of Toronto Psychiatric Service, Canada.


Bulimia is a complex disorder that can significantly interfere with psychosocial functioning. It is a particularly significant problem among adolescents and young women in college and university settings. The preponderance of literature on group therapeutic approaches for this disorder is from a cognitive-behavioral perspective. In this paper, we present a psychodynamic group therapy approach for female university students, informed specifically by self psychological and relational frameworks. Through clinical illustrations, we demonstrate how the group provides selfobject experiences, including mirroring, idealizing, twinship, and adversarial experiences, and how the group becomes the arena through which group members can experience, express, and understand emotions. The interpersonal context of the group uniquely provides opportunities for members to examine their bulimic symptoms in relation to interactions that take place outside of or within the group.

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