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Title: A discourse analysis of self-help books for bulimia
Author: Sinitsky, Gail
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 8467
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2011
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Understandings of bulimia nervosa (bulimia) may be conceptualised as being embedded within psychiatric, psychological and socio-cultural paradigms of understanding. Research within these paradigms has largely devalued the constitutive role of language in the construction of bulimia. I propose that a discursive paradigm for understanding bulimia is congruent with counselling psychology values. Self-help book reading constitutes a vital therapeutic option for bulimia that may be researched within this discursive paradigm. Accordingly, my research project employed a social constructionist, discursive analytic approach to the exploration of language use self-help books for bulimia. In particular, I aimed to explore how features of language may be used to construct varying accounts (interpretative repertoires) of bulimia, and to analyse the effects that this language use may achieve. Three self-help books for bulimia were selected for analysis. The analysis presents five mam interpretative repertoires of bulimia - "pathological disorder", "female disorder", "powerful force-passive victim", "control is possible", and "psychological causality". The analysis demonstrates that a myriad of complex and diverse rhetorical strategies are deployed in the construction of these repertoires, including, the use of metaphor, the use of anecdotal accounts and the use of a scientific style of writing. I argued that the five repertoires are reflective of conflicting cultural ideals relating to medical, individualist and collectivist frameworks. I present suggestions for how this research could be applied to enhance counselling psychology practice and service development. I conclude with a personal reflection on how this research process has shaped my practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available