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Biting the Hand That Starves You
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This important book immediately draws the reader into the world of those struggling with anorexia/bulimia (a/b), whose stories, poems, and first-person accounts expose the 'voice' of these deadly problems. The authors' decade-and-a-half collaboration with 'insiders' has yielded fresh answers to these life and death questions: How does a/b seduce and terrorize girls and women? Why is a/b successful in encouraging girls and women to unwittingly embrace their would-be murderer? How can such a murderer be exposed and thwarted? Biting the Hand that Starves You details a unique way of thinking and speaking about anorexia/bulimia. By having conversations with insiders in which the problem is viewed as an external influence rather than a part of the person, these therapists show how to bring the tactics of a/b into the open, expose its deceptions, break its spell, and encourage defiance of its tyrannical rule. These innovations enable insiders, professionals, and loved ones to unite against anorexia/bulimia rather than allowing a/b to pit a professional or loved one against an insider, and the insider against herself. Coercion is sidestepped in favor of practices that are collaborative, accountable and spirit-nurturing. The groundbreaking discoveries outlined in this book will provide new options, inspiration and hope, not only for those who suffer at anorexia's hands, but also for their loved ones and healthcare professionals. The first section of the book illuminates the means by which anorexia/bulimia insinuates itself into the lives of women and confines them to its prison. The second section focuses on how therapists and other helpers assist them to break the spell of a/b, creating possibilities for resisting and defying it. The third section of the book details a two-pronged strategy for reclaiming one's life from a/b. One method involves unmasking a/b by directly engaging with it through critique. The other method involves disengaging from anorexia in order fashion an 'anti-a/b' lifestyle guided by their own values and passions, even while they fear forsaking the promises of anorexia. Finally, the last section of the book addresses ways in which parents and other loved ones can 'team up' with insiders to fight against these lethal problems. This section includes a first-person account of a mother and father's harrowing but ultimately triumphant effort to free their daughter from anorexia's prison. Biting the Hand that Starves You draws to an unprecedented degree on the anti-anorexic/bulimic knowledge of 'insider' clients/collaborators to provide fresh insights into the workings of a/b and the means to overcome it. The knowledge of these authors and their insider collaborators, who speak poignantly and passionately on their own behalf, is sure to benefit all those affected by a/b.
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About the Author

Richard Maisel, Ph.D. is an adjunct professor at Alliant International University in San Francisco and maintains a private practice in Berkeley and Walnut Creek, California. He has published and presented extensively on narrative therapy and anorexia/bulimia. David Epston, M.A., C.Q.S.W. is coauthor of Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends (1990) and Playful Approaches to Serious Problems (1997). He is a visiting professor at the School of Community Studies, UNITEC Institute of Technology in Auckland, and is the codirector of the Family Therapy Centre in Auckland. Ali Borden, M.A., M.F.T. is the Assistant Clinical Director at the Monte Nido Treatment Center, a residential facility in Los Angeles for women fighting Anorexia and Bulimia. Ali has successfully battled with anorexia/bulimia in her own life.

Reviews

"Biting the Hand that Starves You breaks new ground by presenting in their own words, the hard-won knowledge of people who have taken their lives back from anorexia and bulimia. The authors invite us-those struggling with anorexia and bulimia as well as the therapists working with them-into a different way of thinking in which therapists and clients can join together against anorexia and bulimia. The therapy transcripts are inspiring and compelling. The chapter on how parents can become allies in the fight against anorexia and bulimia is one that I intend to rely on in my work-not only to instill hope, but to offer pragmatic, effective possibilities. Thank you Rick Maisel, David Epston, and Ali Borden for this amazing labor of love." -- Jill Freedman, MSW, co-director of the Evanston Family Therapy Center of Evanston, Illinois, and coauthor of Narrative Therapy: The Social Construction of Preferred Realities "This important work captures the nature of the violent, profoundly personal dialogue between anorexia/bulimia and the men and women who have to contend with it. Biting the Hand that Starves You will be of great interest to both the professional and the layperson, written as it is in a highly intelligent but clear fashion, free of the stylistic murkiness that often clouds important works of research. By applying the highly effective methods of narrative therapy, the authors emphasize the very real potential for effective treatment of these devastating problems. This book offers not only welcome hope to those frustrated with the current state of `eating disorder' treatment but it also provides a lifeline of language to those who are trapped in the terrible silence of anorexia/bulimia." -- Marya Hornbacher, author of Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia "[A]fter over 20 years of battling with anorexia/bulimia, I have found something that speaks my language. . . . I have been asked over the years (and have often asked myself) what is it going to take to get out of this torture. I never really attempted answering this question until we finally got the book." -- Archives of Resistance "[A] a powerful telling of injustice in a less tolerant time." -- Human Givens Journal (UK) "Biting the Hand That Starves You is an inspiring book suitable for anyone touched by an eating disorder, whether they are professionals, carers or sufferers. Using techniques grounded in narrative therapy, the authors offer a fresh and empowering way of approaching anorexia/bulimia (a/b) from an anti-anorexic standpoint. . . . As a professional who works with eating disorders, I was left feeling highly motivated to employ techniques outlined in the text and share the ideas with colleagues. I could not recommend this book more." -- Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory Research and Practice "Since the book is intended for a broad audience--including mental health professionals, parents, friends, partners, individuals having anorexia or bulimia, and occupational therapy practitioners--all of them can benefit from reading this 'insider' presentation of information. . . . [W]ell-organized and clearly presented . . . .By listening to the 'insider's' voice in this novel narrative method, one may attain a greater understanding of individuals with anorexia/bulimia and be able to affect a change in their ability to reclaim life." -- Occupational Therapy in Mental Health "It is organized and written so effectively, with insider narratives and therapy transcripts as driving forces, that the structure is almost invisible, and the reader is pretty much swept along by the content-which is well worth engaging with. . . . [T]he book is a fresh and inspiring start for this new approach. Full of different voices and creativities, in practice as well as in therapy, it gives hope." -- Counseling Resource "[A]n impressive and useful book. . . . Like all truly useful innovation, the ideas in this book quickly become part of one's therapeutic arsenal. This is an excellent book for medical students, residents, senior faculty, and, in part or whole, our patients and their families." -- Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry "[O]ffers a promising way of conceptualizing eating disorders that allows therapist, client, and loved ones to maintain positivity and hope during those periods that seem the bleakest." -- PsycCritiques "With unfailing respect for those suffering from anorexia, Maisel, Epston, and Borden offer a fresh analysis of the etiology of anorexia and bulimia and give us effective new therapeutic tools. . . . [G]ives psychiatrists and clinicians in every therapeutic setting the theoretical framework and practice options needed to treat anorexia and bulimia. This is the book we have been waiting for. . . Patients and their families will find this book invaluable. . . . If you are interested in compassionate, respectful, and effective treatment of anorexia and bulimia, get this landmark book." -- Psychiatric Services "[A] consequential book that changes the way in which a/b is traditionally viewed and thus provides a framework for therapists which involves the use of narrative therapy. . . . The `insider knowledge' provided, which includes journal entries and poems from clients, anecdotes, and therapy session transcripts, helps readers truly grasp the difficulties involved in dealing with a/b and also that recovery is indeed possible." -- International Journal of Psychotherapy

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