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Title: How do therapists who work with people with diagnoses of eating disorders talk about their own bodies?
Author: Kenyon, Martha
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 8067
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis aims to explore how therapists construct their own bodies when working in the context of specialist eating dis/order services, using Foucauldian Discourse Analysis (FDA). The first chapter is a critical review of the existing literature on the therapist’s body within the specialist field of eating dis/orders, from perspectives of both research and practice. The methodology consisted of nine semi-structured interviews, with seven clinical psychologists and two trainee clinical psychologists who work in specialist eating dis/order services, exploring how they construct their own bodies. The transcripts were then analysed using FDA. A critical realist social constructionist epistemological position was adopted, in order to highlight and explore the constructed nature of the body, the mechanisms of power at both local and institutional levels, and implications for subjectivity. The analysis focuses around four dominant constructions of the therapist’s body: (1) as both impacting on and impacted by the work, (2) as visible and watched, (3) as paradoxically both talked about and not talked about, and (4) within subject positions of perfect healthy professional and pathologised professional Other. This thesis argues for the importance of embodied and elaborated constructions of the therapist’s body, and openness to talk of the therapist’s body, in therapy, supervision, and at a service level. This may facilitate reflection, therapist wellbeing, and provide richer more authentic ways of being embodied within the eating dis/orders service. It is hoped that this thesis contributes to the alternative embodied discourses available for both service users and providers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.) Qualification Level: Doctoral