Monday, March 17, 2014
Learning to play the violin
It is the same with talking therapies. They can be very useful. Exercises and re-thinking can literally change thoughts and even the brain, but they surely can't be even expected to be the front, the only line, of treatment for something as deadly as an eating disorder. And yet this appears to be what happens to so many.
I attended a workshop on a "second wave" therapy for eating disorders at EDIC. I won't say exactly which one, because I don't want to single out either the therapy or the speaker and because, for the purpose of this rant, it doesn't really matter. In fact the speaker didn't really explain the history of her treatment or the difference between it and any of the other ideas based on mindfulness and kindness that are being talked of by so many at the moment. The audience, most of them steeped in training in psychology but without a medical qualification or any expectation of power or influence in the physical care of the body of their clients, were asked to practice peaceful understanding of their clients' struggles, and to empathise with them.
All well and good, but if that's ALL that patients are getting, and often it is, then it is really just fiddling while Rome burns. If we put enough resources into this kind of training without adding full medical care with a robust understanding of brain health then we'll very soon have whole competent orchestras who can play while the boats go down.