Anorexia is a situation that is difficult for practitioners to treat. It takes a village to help in these situations, and there is often a high mortality rate involved with these cases as well.
In this video, you will see Erickson’s unusual way of treating anorexia. Erickson described himself as a person who has an iron fist, but a velvet glove. He knew when it was right to be firm, to be disciplined, and even to be assertive in work with a client. Psychotherapists traditionally have a demeanor of being very sweet. Most of the time that works because if there’s anything that is in short supply in today’s society, it’s sweetness, and psychotherapy is often an unusual situation where the therapist is remarkably sweet to the client.
Erickson knew when to be tough and when to be firm with a client. He knew when to increase the level of tension. Often times, therapists are about down-regulation, and making things calmer, but in this particular case, increasing the tension and setting some unusually firm rules is required. This case demonstrates utilization — utilizing what the client values, utilizing what’s available in the situation… In this case we are going to see different methods — methods that are individually oriented, methods that are interactionally oriented, and methods that are systemically oriented that involve the family.
Dr. Jeffrey Zeig provides insightful commentary on this historic Erickson clip.