Using Writing as a Therapy for Eating Disorders: The diary healer uses a unique combination of evidence-based research and raw diary excerpts to explain the pitfalls and benefits of diary writing during recovery from an eating disorder. In a time when diary writing remains a largely untapped resource in the health care professions, June Alexander sets out to correct this imbalance, explaining how the diary can inspire, heal and liberate, provide a learning tool for others and help us to understand and cope with life challenges.
The book focuses on the power of diary writing, which may serve as a survival tool but become an unintended foe. With guidance, patients who struggle with face-to-face therapy are able to reveal their thoughts through writing and construct a strong sense of self. The effects of family background and the environment are explored, and the therapeutic value of sharing diaries, to better understand illness symptoms and behaviours, is discussed.
Using Writing as a Therapy for Eating Disorders will be of interest to those who have recovered or are recovering from eating disorders or any mental illness, as well as therapists, clinicians and others working in the medical and healthcare professions.
Table of Contents
PART 1: WRITING FOR SELF Introductions: June Alexander Foreword: Michael Levine/Gillie Bolton 1. Why Write a Diary? 2. Choosing a Diary 3. Creating a Friend 4. The Role of Secrets – How the Diary Can Dupe You 5. Navigating the Minefield of Abuse 6. Getting to Know You (Me) 7. Reflecting and Connecting with Self 8. Healing the Self, the Patient 9. Learning About Self through the Stories of Others 10. The Many Marks of Stigma 11. Early Signs and Symptoms 12. Recovery 13. How the Diary Helps Us to Move On PART 2: WRITING FOR THERAPY 14. The Connector 15. Look For Me In Poetry 16. Developing Trust for Today and Tomorrow 17. The Family and Healing 18. A Translator and Informant 19. The Internet as a Diary Medium 20. Newer Forms of Face-to-Face and Online Support 21. Sharing Stories in Online Communities 22. The Diary’s Role in Behavioural Health Technology 23. How Will the Story in Your Diary Play Out? 24. Using Your Diary to Create a Narrative for Others 25. A Participant and Observer of Your Own Life Resource Listing Afterword: Cynthia Bulik
June Alexander developed anorexia nervosa at 11, where writing and her diary became a survival tool. She has worked as a journalist and written seven books about eating disorders. Titles include memoir A Girl Called Tim; My Kid is Back; A Collaborative Approach to Eating Disorders; Anorexia Nervosa: A Recovery Guide for Sufferers, Families and Friends; and Getting Better Bite by Bite. She also has a blog on her website at www.junealexander.com. June is the recipient of the 2016 Meehan-Hartley Award for Public Service and Advocacy from The Academy of Eating Disorders.
'In this book, June Alexander shares her trust in the power of words to guide individuals with an eating disorder through the labyrinth of thoughts, emotions and disturbed physiology that serves to entrap them. Her passion for sharing, learning and listening means that her own experience is enriched by the wisdom of others.' - Janet Treasure OBE, PhD, FRCP, FRCpsych
June Alexander, writer, journalist, grandmother and a former eating disorder sufferer, has produced a unique and wonderful book which charts the author’s recovery and life journey through her use of a diary. Reflective, full of warmth, wisdom, and acceptance the book gives an insight into what matters in effecting recovery and how writing a diary assists the process. Whilst The Diary Healer at one level is an intensely personal, autobiographical account, it transcends the author’s story, by bringing in many other sufferers’ voices, perspectives and stories. The book is hopeful, positive and inspiring. A real gem.– Ulrike Schmidt, Professor of Eating Disorders, King's College London, UK
"This is a real gem. It is a must read book not only for those struggling to overcome an eating disorder, but for their carers and clinicians as well. The Diary Healer will become an invaluable resource and essential companion to those embarking on the often difficult and challenging journey to recovery. June Alexander makes absolutely sure that keeping a diary will never be the same again. You will want to start writing from the moment you turn the first page." - Stephen Touyz PhD, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Clinical Professor in Psychiatry, Executive Chair: Centre for Eating and Dieting Disorders, University of Sydney, Co-Editor, Journal of Eating Disorders