Eating Disorders and Self-Silencing: A Function-Focused Approach to Treatment

Josie Geller, Suja Srikameswaran and Stephanie Cassin

in Silencing the Self Across Cultures

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780195398090
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199776900 | DOI:
Eating Disorders and Self-Silencing: A Function-Focused Approach to Treatment

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This chapter examines self-silencing and loss of voice in women's experiences of eating disorders. The authors put forward a model that links etiological perspectives, self-silencing, and eating disorder behaviors, arguing that a critical function of eating disorder behaviors is communication and management of emotions and that these behaviors reinforce and perpetuate the self-silencing schema through a negative feedback loop. The model is based on a series of studies in Canada with clinical samples of adolescents and adult women with anorexia and/or bulimia compared with various types of control groups.[Q2] The authors suggest that women who feel unable to express an authentic self through words may use their bodies as a means of communicating emotional distress. The authors describe treatment strategies and suggest that the most effective interventions engage women in collaborative nonhierarchical relationships that focus on readiness for change and that address the functions of the eating disorder.

Keywords: eating disorders; voice; loss of self; self-silencing; authentic self-expression; silencing the self scale

Chapter.  7159 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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