17. Psychodynamic Approaches to Eating Disorders

  1. John R. E. Fox2 and
  2. Ken P. Goss3
  1. Tony Winston

Published Online: 3 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118328910.ch17

Eating and its Disorders

Eating and its Disorders

How to Cite

Winston, T. (2012) Psychodynamic Approaches to Eating Disorders, in Eating and its Disorders (eds J. R. E. Fox and K. P. Goss), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118328910.ch17

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Division of Clinical Psychology, University of Manchester, UK

  2. 3

    Coventry Eating Disorders Service, United Kingdom

Author Information

  1. Warwick Eating Disorders Service, Warwick, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 OCT 2012
  2. Published Print: 9 OCT 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470683545

Online ISBN: 9781118328910



  • anorexia nervosa (AN);
  • binge eating disorder (BED);
  • bulimia nervosa (BN);
  • eating disorders (EDs);
  • psychodynamic therapy


Psychodynamic therapists have paid relatively little attention to bulimia nervosa (BN) and even less to binge eating disorder (BED). This chapter therefore deals first with anorexia nervosa (AN) and then with BN and BED; this is followed by some comments on working with eating-disordered clients and a brief review of the evidence base for psychodynamic therapy in eating disorders (EDs). There are a number of recurring themes, including control, power, intrusion, containment, identity, sexuality and repressed emotion, in work with anorexic clients, with which it is helpful to be familiar; these are described. These themes do not, of course, occur in all clients and the fact that every client is different is one of the reasons that psychotherapeutic work with this group is at the same time so fascinating and so challenging.