Today's guest blog article is written by Linda Ciotola, M.Ed., TEP, who is the author of "Healing Eating Disorders with Psychodrama and Other Action Methods: Beyond the Silence and the Fury" with Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP. They are co-presenting an online training on eating disorders on Oct. 7, 2022.
By Linda Ciotola, M.Ed., TEP
To begin with, action methods such as psychodrama provide valuable tools to assess, build and strengthen the therapeutic alliance necessary for effective treatment of eating disorders. As the clinician finds engaging ways to create a supportive therapeutic relationship and safe environment, enactment then puts these struggles into action by externalizing them for treatment. Now these struggles are no longer hidden, and they have been given voice to the suffering person's inner conflicts and feelings.
The eating disorder behaviors such as binging, purging, starving, compulsive exercise -- along with body image obsession -- are often the expressions of unspoken feelings for which the obsessions and compulsions about food, weight and appearance serve as an effective distraction. Anxiety and other emotions may be pushing the person out of “the window of tolerance," as psychiatrist Dan Siege refers to each person's capacity to manage strong feelings in a healthy way. They reflect a dysregulated nervous system which the eating disorder behaviors temporarily suppress.
By engaging the body and brain in enacting the root cause of this dysregulation --with the necessary safety measures in place first, like concretizing strengths and resources -- the protagonist is able to release the suppressed feelings, accurately label the underlying issues, and gain action insight that reveals the connection between the behaviors and their underlying causes. Hence, revealing the roles that the eating disorder has been holding in the body.
New, healthy ways of coping can be learned, rehearsed and internalized thereby nurturing resiliency and post-traumatic growth
About the author
Linda Ciotola, M.Ed., TEP, is the author of Healing Eating Disorders with Psychodrama and Other Action Methods, Beyond the Silence and the Fury with Karen Carnabucci and Linda Ciotola, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers in 2013. She is a board-certified trainer, educator and practitioner of psychodrama, group psychotherapy, and sociometry. Her areas of expertise include nutrition, exercise, stress management, trauma, eating disorders, women’s health, body image and mindbody wellness. For more information about Linda, click here.
About the training
For information and registration on the online training Healing Eating Disorders with Psychodrama and Other Action Methods from 10 a.m. to 1p.m. ET Sept. 10, click here. Offers three CE credits for Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Maryland.
Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP, is an author, trainer and psychotherapist who promotes, practices and teaches experiential methods including psychodrama, Family and Systemic Constellations, sand tray, mindfulness and Tarot imagery.