Groepstherapie voor anorexia-nervosa patienten
An activity group has been formed with eight female patients, all of them suftering from anorexia nervosa, and two therapists (male and female). A description is given of the experiences with this closed group during the first seven months of its existence.
The group makes its own hand-puppets for puppet-theatre in order to use them for phantasy-play. Initially, there is evidence of a collective resistance. After a failure a way of playing is found in which all patients can take part, as it turns out.
The way they act with their puppets is surprisingly original and lively, as opposed to their forma!, overcorrect, reticent, highly passive attitude of the previous period. The pseudo-adjustment, typical for the anorexia-nervosa patient, cannot be maintained during the play.
The incapacity of those patients, as described by Hilde Bruch to experience oneself as a personality, thinking and acting on its own, is being discussed by the authors. The therapists try to explain the patients' lack of joy in playing. On the contrary, anxiety and defence are obvious. It proofs to be helpful to assist the patient on this point in individual therapy.
According to the therapists, the specific problems as well as the therapeutic possibilities of this group are found in breaking through the pseudo-adjustment by playing with the hand-puppets in the group.
Next to it a few other less specific phenomena are discussed.