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Eat Disord. 2007 Jul-Sep;15(4):317-31.

The role of emotional abuse in the eating disorders: implications for treatment.

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1
Vincent Square Eating Disorder Clinic, Central and North West London Mental Health NHS Trust, and Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, UK. glenn.waller@iop.kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

This paper addresses the clinical links between emotional abuse and the eating disorders. It is argued that the core feature of a range of abusive experiences is emotional invalidation. Emotional abuse is associated with problems in the development of emotional skills, manifesting as alexithymia, poor distress tolerance, and emotional inhibition. Cognitive-behavioral approaches are outlined for work with eating-disordered patients with a history of emotional abuse. As well as addressing the central concerns about eating, weight, and shape (using existing evidence-based methods), the focus of treatment is on addressing the conditional assumptions about the acceptability of emotions and the core beliefs that underpin the emotional difficulties.

PMID:
17710569
DOI:
10.1080/10640260701454337
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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