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Hunger for Understanding: A Workbook for helping young people to understand and overcome anorexia nervosa

Hunger for Understanding: A Workbook for helping young people to understand and overcome anorexia nervosa

Alison Eivors, Sophie Nesbitt

ISBN: 978-0-470-02129-3

Aug 2005

184 pages



Research suggests that anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders, whilst not prevalent in the population, have the highest mortality rate of all psychological problems. The development of effective treatment programs is therefore an important priority for health care professionals. This flexible book has been designed for use by therapists as part of a programme when working with young people with eating disorders. The aim is to help young people understand more about their own experience, and alongside guidance ofr therapists it includes a complete workbook for use by the young persons themselves. This presents tasks ranging from reflective thinking to drawing to promote engagement with difficulties as a first step to overcoming them.
About the authors.



1 The purpose of the workbook.

Who is Hunger for Understanding for?

Who can use Hunger for Understanding?

When and how should Hunger for Understanding be used?

Accessing the workbook electronically.

Issues of confidentiality.

2 Psychological interventions for anorexia nervosa and the role of psycho-education.

Psychological interventions.

Motivational-enhancement therapy (MET).

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT).

Psycho-education in anorexia nervosa.

The psychological symptoms of starvation.

The cultural context of eating disorders.

Set-point theory.

The physical effects of starvation.

3 Therapeutic challenges, skills and techniques.

Challenges of work with people with anorexia nervosa.

Physical issues.

Psychological issues.

Therapeutic skills and techniques.


Instilling hope.


Developing emotional awareness.

Rolling with resistance.

Dealing with distress.

Managing relapses.

4 The contents of the workbook and guidelines for use.

Section 1: What is anorexia nervosa?

Section 2: What causes anorexia?

Section 3: How does dieting affect us?

Section 4: How does anorexia affect you?

Section 5: What keeps anorexia going?

Section 6: The tricks anorexia plays.

Section 7: Thinking about change.

Section 8: Getting better.

Section 9: Teamwork.

Section 10: Becoming assertive.

Section 11: Myths and questions about anorexia nervosa.

Some good advice and messages of support.

Ending the workbook.

The Workbook.

Useful contacts.



"...a wonderful workbook as a therapeutic tool for work with young people referred with eating disorders." (International Journal for Adolescent Health, Vol 17 (4) 2005)

"...easy to understand and accessible..." (Infant and Child Development, Dec 05)

" important tool for the therapist..." (International Journal of Adolescence Med Health, vol 17, no.4, 2004)