Using attachment theory as a lens for understanding the role of food in our everyday lives, this book explores relationships with other people, with ourselves and between client and therapist, through our connection with food.
The aim of this book is twofold: to examine the nature of attachment through narratives of feeding, and to enrich psychotherapy practice by encouraging exploration of clients’ food-related memories and associations. Bringing together contributions from an experienced group of psychotherapists, the chapters examine how our connections with food shape our patterns of attachment and defence, how this influences appetite, self-feeding (or self-starving) and how we may then feed others. They consider a spectrum from a "secure attachment" to food through to avoidant, preoccupied and disorganised, including discussion of eating disorders.
Enriched throughout with diverse clinical case studies, this edited collection illuminates how relationships to food can be a rich source of insight and understanding for psychotherapists, psychoanalysts and other counselling therapists working today.
"Attachment and food shape – visibly or invisibly – almost every aspect of our lives. Yet, to my knowledge, this original, readable, creative book is the first to put them on the same plate, subtly exploring their varied resonances (secure attachment) and clashes (insecure varieties). Like attachment-informed psychotherapy itself, food is both indispensably real, and a cultural construct of analogy, metaphor and parable. Cundy’s collation deliciously combines both, with significant mental health, spiritual, sociological and political implications. Omnivorous psychotherapists and general readers will find an insightful welcome at her and her co-authors’ table." – Prof Jeremy Holmes, MD FRCPsych, University of Exeter, UK
"This welcome volume of essays from practitioners succeeds in being original and interesting in its attempt to integrate the complex and contradictory relationship we all have with food. Linda Cundy is well known for her perceptive and clinically oriented reflections on attachment; this volume extends the range of her thinking to the ways in which attachment experience and eating behaviour mirror and reveal each other. The clinical focus of the contributions is very useful in a field where research and reflection rarely extend to the difficult issue of how the insight translates into working with clients." – Julia Buckroyd, Emeritus Professor of Counselling, University of Hertfordshire, UK
Table of Contents
1. The last supper: attachment, loss . . . and food 2. “He’s got a good appetite”: how do men experience attachment and food? 3. Food and feelings 4. “Let food be thy medicine”: the impact of nutrition on mental well-being 5. Overcoats, burning buildings and planks of wood: an integrated attachment-based approach to working with eating disorders 6. Dysfunctional eating in recovering addicts: a therapist’s shift to an attachment-focused approach 7. Kitchen Therapy: cooking for connection and belonging 8. Food in the consulting room 9. Guess who’s coming to dinner: culture, community, identity . . . and food
About the Editor:
Linda Cundy is an attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapist, supervisor, independent trainer and author. She is the Attachment Theory Consultant to the Bowlby Centre in London.