The Role of Counselling and Self-Help Groups in the Management of Anorexia Nervosa
The term ‘anorexia nervosa’, literally translated, means ‘loss of appetite of nervous origin’. This is a misleading and inadequate term for a complicated psychosomatic condition which continues to pose problems of diagnosis, aetiology, treatment, management, and prognosis and, at a more basic level, problems in simply understanding what motivates the anorectic to behave in the way she/he does. The central thesis of this paper is that anorexia nervosa, unlike most other medical or even psychosomatic complaints, involves multifaceted and multilevel problems which both impinge upon and derive their energising force from every aspect of the individual’s makeup, environment, and the interaction between these. It follows from this thesis that treatment (or help) cannot be restricted to one aspect of the problem, of the person, of the person’s environment, or to one setting in which the afflicted anorectic is placed or finds herself/himself.
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