The Psychodynamic Stance in Therapy for Eating Disorders

"When I say "I" I mean a thing absolutely unique, not to be confused with any other."

-Ugo Betti


When a potential patient makes contact with me and asks me how I work I try to explain in plain terms my psychodynamic stance which means that how I receive what is said to me is as important as what is spoken from and to me. As the therapy relationship develops, my unconscious receives, organizes and recognizes patterns and these patterns constitute the form that any content may take, whether we are talking about eating, thinking, feeling or relating. As Freud had mentioned on numerous occasions, a psychoanalyst is trained to be impressionable, to allow a patient's way of being and relating to affect them. I have learned that I need to be as open to this as possible and even though I may begin to notice patterns early on in therapy, I attempt to suspend early observations in order to continue to be open to the form of a patient's character and inner life. By practicing in this way, patient's are able to become more expressive, more specific, and more aware of their own patterns both toward the self and in relationships. When an eating disorder is a part of someone's life understanding the dynamics of the process, it's meaning and it's purpose are a crucial element toward health. I help my patient's make connections and concern myself with their inherent way of being and resist battling the innate resistance to which the foundation of an eating disorder is built upon. It is my foremost task to experience each patient personally and I do this by getting to know them over time in our relationship. Implicit in psychodynamic psychotherapy is that help is available to any person of any size and any shape.  Because the psychodynamic stance precludes prescribing a solution, I hold back from offering tools and tricks. Patients are invited to talk about whatever comes to mind and because I am impressionable and paying attention to patterns, then meaning can be derived from these content laden therapeutic conversations.   Psychodynamic therapy is an examination of one self that in and of itself will lead a person to potentially make true, sustainable changes in their lives.

Angela Wurtzel