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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 1999 March;40(1):47-54

language: English

Individual psychotherapy by a systemic approach in bulimic patients

Calandra C., Gulino V.


In this paper, we try to examine different aspects of it, such as its history, its biological basis, epidemiology, and clinical characteristics. The complex approach, both biological and psychotherapeutic, followed in our Department for the Therapy of Eating Disorders, in order to treat patients suffering from Bulimia Nervosa, is then described. The patients under-go a medical examination, with investigation of several biological parameters (hemacrome, electrolytes, ECG, serum proteins, weight, height), psychodiagnosis, also conducted with specific rating scales, to know personality, dynamics of relations, and possible symptoms of co-morbidity with other psychiatric disorders. If necessary they are treated with antidepressant drugs, in order to reduce the compulsive need for food, and, at the same time, with psychotherapy that follows a systemic approach in an individual setting, where we use projective material (drawing of the nuclear and enlarged family), in order to promote the separation-individualization processes. Great importance is given to self narration: the individual composes his experiences in temporal sequence, making simple stories without presuming truthfulness, that give him a sense of continuity and significance towards his life. Finally, a case example is described.

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