Understanding Anorexia Nervosa in Males : An Integrative Approach book cover
1st Edition

Understanding Anorexia Nervosa in Males
An Integrative Approach

ISBN 9781315669137
Published May 5, 2016 by Routledge
146 Pages

What are VitalSource eBooks?

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Because anorexia nervosa has historically been viewed as a disorder that impacts women and girls, there has been little focus on the conceptualization and treatment of males suffering from this complex disorder. Understanding Anorexia Nervosa in Males provides a structure for understanding the male side of the equation combined with practical resources to guide clinical intervention. Presented using an integrative framework that draws on recent research and organizes information from multiple domains into a unified understanding of the interconnected issues at hand, this informative new text provides a comprehensive approach to understanding and treating a widely unrecognized population.

Table of Contents

List of Figures  Foreword by Leigh Cohn, MAT, CEDS  Foreword by Roberto Olivardia, PhD  Acknowledgements  1. Introduction  2. An Integrative Approach  3. Diagnosis, Engagement, and Alliance  4. The Systemic Metaframework 5. The Biological Metaframework  6. The Cultural Metaframework  7. Expanding into Cyberspace  8. The Psychodynamic Metaframework  9. The Spiritual Metaframework  10. Clinical Application 

View More



Tom Wooldridge, Psy.D. is an assistant professor at Golden Gate University, where he chairs the Psychology Department. He is also an Executive Director at the National Association for Males with Eating Disorders (NAMED), a member of the editorial board of Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, and publishes widely on eating disorders, particularly as they manifest in males, as well as other topics including pro-anorexia forums and the uses of technology in psychoanalytic treatment. He is a candidate at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California and in private practice in Berkeley, California.


Understanding Anorexia Nervosa in Males provides a fresh, broad, and clinically sophisticated approach to anorexia nervosa in general, and to males with anorexia nervosa in particular. This outstanding new book engages the reader from the first page to the last.  Several novel concepts that add perspective to the field are presented for the first time.  After a review of all the current approaches to the treatment of anorexia nervosa (and the references are superb), the author critically examines these approaches and proposes an approach to engagement and alliance with patients.  He clarifies with patient examples the ambivalence of patients suffering from anorexia nervosa, allowing the reader to step in the shoes of the patient cognitively, culturally, and physically.  His discussion of negative vs positive constraints is nowhere else treated with this clarity and clinical utility.  The chapter on Cyberspace with its comparison of the risks vs. benefits of pro-ana sites for males is provocative and speaks with compassion to the alienation of males with anorexia nervosa. No other source addresses so well the spiritual framework and milieu of anorexia in males.  Don’t expect a simplistic “how-to” guide, but do expect a comprehensive, fresh, and challenging new view of anorexia nervosa in males that brings an integrative approach to the understanding and treatment of anorexia nervosa in males.  A potential classic that takes away your breath with its freshness and applicability, touching on topics not found elsewhere.  Strongly recommended for all clinicians and families. 
 Arnold Andersen, MD, professor emeritus of psychiatry, University of Iowa, former director of eating and weight disorders program, University of Iowa, founder, eating and weight disorders program, Johns Hopkins Hospital Author, Making Weight: Men's Conflicts with Food, Weight, Shape, & Appearance and Eating Disorders: A Guide to Medical Care and Complications

This groundbreaking book illuminates the less explored, but nonetheless problematic issue of male anorexia. Wooldridge identifies existing treatments to anorexia and finds them wanting with respect to the treatment of males and calls for a new integrative approach that specifically speaks to boys and men. Infused with tasty morsels of research and theory, he compellingly posits an approach using a multi-faceted framework with accessible clinical vignettes that help us think in adaptive ways.....not only to the complexity of this disorder.....but to how we can help our patients recognize their hunger and relational yearnings to eat and be fed, as they learn – with our help – that they can speak about the often unspeakable.
Jean Petrucelli, Ph.D., director & co-founder of the Eating Disorders, Compulsions & Addictions Service, William Alanson White Institute, editor of Body-States: Interpersonal & Relational Perspectives on the Treatment of Eating Disorders and co-editor of Hungers & Compulsions: The Psychodynamic Treatment of Eating Disorders & Addictions

Tom Wooldridge’s Understanding Anorexia in Males is a thoroughly researched, sensitively focused, and lively systematic review of all treatment modalities essential for guiding therapy in the 21st Century.   Readers will particularly resonate with and learn from the clinical examples and actual dialogues between patient and therapist that Dr. Wooldridge boldly includes in each chapter.  This gem is an essential reference for all who aim to understand and to assist men in their recovery from a severe eating disorder.  Highly recommended to students, family members, and patients who want to learn more about the subject, too.
Kathryn J. Zerbe, MD, FAED, author, The Body Betrayed: Women, Eating Disorders and Treatment and Integrated Treatment of Eating Disorders: Beyond the Body Betrayed, clinical professor, Oregon Health and Science University, training and supervising analyst, Oregon Psychoanalytic Institute.

Understanding Anorexia Nervosa in Males: An Integrative Approach fills an empty hole in the eating disorder literature, shedding light on a subject that we have ignored for far too long. With a historical and cultural perspective Tom Wooldridge contextualizes male anorexia , challenging the myth that men are immune to eating disorders, and describes  how their unique experiences of ambivalence, shame, and stigma keep them in the closet. The multidimensional integrative treatment approach provides a framework to identify and address systemic, biological, cultural, spiritual, and psychodynamic factors and their interactions in the illness process as well as in treatment. Case material enlivens  this well-written and clinically useful resource for anyone who wants to understand male anorexia- and that should be every practicing clinician - specialist or generalist.  It’s about time to make men with eating disorders more visible to both the public and professional communities so they can be identified and treated. Wooldridge does just that in this excellent and timely book.
Margo Maine, PhD, FAED, CEDS, a founder and adviser of the National Eating Disorders Association and founding fellow of the Academy for Eating Disorders, Maine,  author of Treatment of Eating Disorders: Bridging the Research- Practice Gap; Effective Clinical Practice in the Treatment of Eating Disorders; The Body Myth; Father Hunger; and Body Wars, recipient of the 2015 NEDA Lifetime Achievement Award, member of the Renfrew Clinical Advisory Board and the Renfrew Foundation Conference Committee

Tom Wooldridge has written a masterful review of males with eating disorders that will be a resource for those working with this population for many years to come. Wooldridge’s book provides an “integrative model” for understanding this under-identified and appreciated illness in boys and men.  His expertise comes through without question, addressing treatment issues compassionately and comprehensively. A must-read for clinicians working in the field. 
Theodore Weltzin, MD FAED CEDS, regional medical director, eating disorders, Rogers Memorial Hospital

For many years, anorexia nervosa has been conceptualized as a 'female' illness; a misnomer which has stymied illness recognition and treatment, in addition to stigmatized males with this illness. With research slowly recognizing the increasing prevalence of anorexia nervosa in males, several key questions arise. Do males with anorexia nervosa differ from females with this illness? How do we recognize anorexia nervosa in males? How do we treat this syndrome in males? Dr. Wooldridge's illuminative compendium Understanding Anorexia Nervosa in Males provides a comprehensive guide to working with anorexia nervosa in males. Dr. Wooldridge's renowned expertise in this area offers a unique window into understanding the cultural, biological, systemic, and spiritual underpinnings of this syndrome in males. Further, the core focus on clinical applications throughout bring the complex theories to life, and make them immediately relatable to readers. I will definitely be recommending this book to colleagues and patients, and I think this will serve as a milestone publication in our field.
Stuart B Murray, PhD, assistant professor, University of California, San Francisco, co-executive director, National Association for Males with Eating Disorders

Understanding Anorexia Nervosa in Males: An Integrative Approach is a first of its kind, and a much needed treatment manual that integrates various psychotherapeutic approaches to address this growing life-threatening disorder.  To date, there exist only a few professional articles that focus on the treatment of males with anorexia and a few books aimed at muscle dysmorphism. This new volume is a comprehensive, up-to-date work, which is a major contribution to understanding the diagnosis and treatment of anorexia among men.
Ray Lemberg, PhD, editor of Eating Disorders: A Reference Sourcebook, co-editor of Current Findings on Males with Eating Disorders, associate editor, Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention