Kat (cogitoergobum) wrote,

Hilda and Peggy

I've been reading Peggy Claude-Pierre's book The Secret Language of Eating Disorders. It's...very much of its time, it was published in 1997 and the lack of references to genetic/biologicalfactors is pretty glaring. It's interesting how even ED literature for mass consumption is much more aware of the biological findings these days and how much the emphasis was on the psycho-social a decade ago. The blurb to this book promises a revolutionary new cure for AN and BN. I found it frustratingly unscientific and anecdotal, repetetive and much longer than it needs to be. It's one woman's insights into how lots of treatment programs don't work because they're not addressing anorexic patients' intensely negative mindsets. Her solution (which could have been laid out in a book half the length) is unconditional love and 24 hour care. Not a bad book really, just not very useful. The Golden Cage is older but has more useful insights, IMO.
I was interested to read the book because Peggy is quite an enigmatic figure. Her treatment centre in Canada was shut down under contraversial circumstances and there was even an exposé book written (her supporters and critics are at war in the amazon comments section). And now I notice she's back and blogging again with a new book in the works. I doubt we'll ever know the truth.

Speaking of Hilde Bruch, I'm a massive fangirl. If Wasted is the ana bible, Hilde is my Marya Hornbacher. But seriously, she was writing in the 1970s and her interpretations of EDs always ring true and still seem relevant. I don't think theres one book I'd recommend as fully explaining EDs but The Golden Cage is a good starting place for the uninitiated. It does blame family dynamics a bit too much but apart from that, good stuff. Here's a quote I like:-
"It is perplexing that this direct influence of hunger on the psychic functioning of anorexics has been overlooked. (...) Many of the more alarming symptoms - splitting of the ego, depersonalisation, sever ego defects - are directly related to the starvation itself. A meaningful psychiatric evaluation is possible only after the worst effect of malnutrition have been corrected." It's not a revelation now but it wasn't widely practiced when she was writing.

Tags: books, ed, ed literature, eds, research

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