In this issue
Understanding your eating
Julia Buckroyd describes a psycho-educational intervention that focuses on core issues
Eating disorders: features, causes, treatments and outcomes
Consultant psychiatrist Hubert Lacey summarises the presentation, diagnosis and medical treatment of eating disorders
Coming out of the food cupboard: supporting young men with eating disorders
Young men may feel huge shame and denial of their eating disorder. Russel Delderfield shares his story
Helping students with eating disorders
Eileen Murphy offers advice and strategies for university counsellors to help them help students with eating disorders
Addressing eating problems with DBT
Christine Dunkley explains how dialectical behaviour therapy can be used with clients in an outpatient setting
A group for students with eating issues
Sue Anderson describes a group project for students that combines therapeutic support and psycho-education within a brief model
Mary Dailey and Tina Abbott report the headline findings from the 2011/12 survey of BACP Universities and Colleges
BACP Universities and Colleges updates
Meet the BACP Universities and Colleges Four Nations representatives
Notes from the chair
From the editor
First we changed our look and now we are changing our name. You may have already heard about the change to the division’s title through announcements on the mailbase. In any event, welcome aboard the journal of BACP Universities & Colleges. We hope you like our new name. The feeling was that University & College Counselling speaks plainly and for itself.
Later in this issue we offer a brief introduction and warm welcome to the division’s new Four Nations representatives, who have recently joined the Executive to broaden our perspective. They are a welcome addition.
Change can mean a fresh start, or a continuation with refreshed vigour; but, especially if not directly chosen, may be experienced as unsettling or even traumatic.
‘Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that – I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much – so very much to learn.’
So wrote the youthful Sylvia Plath to her journal.1
Karen Carpenter, Jane Fonda, Lady Gaga, Kate Winslet, Isabelo Caro, Elvis Presley, Richard Simmons, Dennis Quaid, Elton John, Paul Gascoigne – a roll call of some of the well-known sufferers of disordered eating. There are, of course, many more beyond the glare of the media spotlight. The pathos of unlived, half-lived lives may appear in our consulting rooms at any time, students or learners trying to mediate through food the challenges of walking the transition tightrope from childhood to adulthood and from home to college or university.
Mood regulation via the body is the primary focus of this issue. In trying to deal with ‘the terror of aliveness’ – whatever that signifies to a particular individual, consciously or otherwise – that person is both concealing and communicating their struggle and emotional distress through tension relief in ways that are, ultimately, self-defeating and self-harming. These may have originated in early ‘toxic nourishment’ – in Eigen’s powerful words:
‘Explosive hate obliterates the self. Poisonous hate corrupts the self. One’s efforts to rid oneself [of these]… backfire, so that the latter deforms the self that fights it, and the evolution of one’s personality and life miscarry’.2
It is potentially a deadly business, but not one entirely without hope.
We trust you will find this edition crammed full, in the positive sense, of useful information, sufficiently satisfying in the variety of views and approaches presented while at the same time leaving you wanting more. The aim is to help nurture and inform practice and debate on this topic as it might apply to practitioners in our sector.
Most of us cannot offer long-term ongoing support and do not have weighing scales in our consulting rooms; we have to work within the restricted resources available to us. Perhaps our best hope is that we may be able to accompany the individual part of the way along the road to self-acceptance and a healthier and more resilient approach to life.
We welcome your thoughts and input on this and any other issues; and please do get in touch with ideas for future themed issues.
1. Plath S. The journals of Sylvia Plath: transcribed from the original manuscripts at Smith College. London: Faber & Faber; 2001.
2 Eigen M. Toxic nourishment. London: Karnac; 1999.