From eating identity to authentic selfhood: Identity transformation in eating disorder sufferers following psychotherapy

Claudia Cruzat-Mandich, Fernanda Díaz-Castrillón, Tatiana Escobar-Koch, Susan Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The following article illustrates the development of the identity configuration process of Chilean female patients with an eating disorder (ED) following successful psychotherapeutic treatment. Method: This was a qualitative, descriptive study, which explored patients' subjective perspectives. In-depth interviews were conducted with 20 female patients, and data were analysed according to procedures established by the Grounded Theory method. Results: Four dimensions of identity were identified: (1) self-image as idealised versus imperfect; (2) knowledge of one's inner world; (3) impulse control; and (4) life goals. Transcending these themes was the central notion of identity and a shift in this identity from someone who defines themselves by their eating disorder toward a more authentic and complex sense of self. Conclusion: Results suggest that successful treatment facilitates the construction of an authentic identity, which includes developing a more realistic and complex understanding of themselves and their emotional and physical needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Psychologist
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Keywords

  • authentic identity
  • eating disorder
  • eating identity
  • recovery
  • self-image

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