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ANZAED Conference, Melbourne, 2018
3 August 2018
F4. Narrative as Therapy and Therapy as Narrative in Recovery from Eating Disorders
By: Rachel Bachner-Melman, Ruppin Academic Center; June Alexander, Central Queensland University
Written narrative, as in a personal journal, can be a powerful therapeutic tool for recovery from eating disorders (ED). Spoken narrative forms the basis of most psychotherapy, regardless of its underlying theoretical approach, since clients, guided by their therapists, tell, retell and remould their life narratives in therapy. This workshop examines the role of spoken and written narrative in the context of recovery from ED.
Author and advocate, June Alexander, explores the role of personal journaling in healing from the patient perspective. She shares insights on how journaling can be a powerful therapeutic tool for recovery from ED, exploring its role in enhancing one’s relationship with food, activity, self, and others.
Clinical psychologist Rachel Bachner-Melman explains how psychotherapy can change spoken narratives, and presents therapy for ED as a co-created spoken narrative by client and therapist, remoulding the client’s story of her past, present and future. The use of written narrative in therapeutic approaches to treating ED will also be presented.
The workshop will be highly interactive and attendees will participate in experiential narrative exercises and role plays. The potential dangers of journaling, ways to navigate setbacks, and the role of externalization will be discussed. Narrative techniques and skills to utilize in individual and group settings will be demonstrated and practiced, and personal and clinical examples will be presented throughout.