Monday, February 27, 2012

Psychodrama has powerful results with eating disorders

Linda Ciotola and "body book," an awareness activity.

With today marking the start of National Eating Disorders Week, today is a good time to spotlight the use of action methods for the treatment of eating disorders.

The use of psychodrama is especially helpful with the treatment of  traditional eating disorders as well as “dieting disorders” and a range of difficulties with body image. As I put together my next book with co-author and sister psychodramatist Linda Ciotola, I'm reminded again about the complexity of eating disorders and the amazing power of psychodrama.

Our book, titled "Healing Eating Disorders with Psychodrama and Other Action Methods: Beyond the Silence and the Fury," has just been accepted for publication by Jessica Kingsley Publishers and you will see it soon. In the meanwhile, you may enjoy my sample eating disorder training handout for trainees here.

To read about Linda Ciotola's innovative work with eating disorders and several articles about psychodrama, see her web site here.

A number of practitioners and psychodramatists, including Kim Burden, Monica Callahan, Kathy Metcalf, Colleen Baratka, Mary Bellofatto and Linda Ciotola have devoted some or all of their professional work to eating disorders. Listen to Mary Bellofatto, a psychodramatist who is a member of the board of directors for the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals, talk about the value of psychodrama here. You may also find one of Mary's handouts here. 

Both the sociometric and the experiential nature of the modality help eating disorder patients in a number of ways. Sociometrically, the understanding of roles the patient plays — including the self-destructive roles — is a first step in enhancing new roles that are healthy and self-caring.

With psychodrama, the client is able to experience her relationship with the eating disorder as well learn more about its role in her life. The psychodramatic group is another plus, as people with eating disorders are often isolated from others and tend to use food or the misuse of food to avoid relationships with people.

Here's a short video about psychodrama with Angelina Gonzalez, therapist at the Oliver  Pyatt Centers, talking about the basics of psychodrama: