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uni'wissen 01-2012_ENG

she instructs the women to “build up a concep­ tion of their bodies that allows for positive and negative things. According to the motto: I have a beautiful nose, but my mouth is not that beautiful. That is okay; both are part of me.” No Fear of Calories Around ten years ago the psychologist devel­ oped a concept for treating patients with eating disorders that includes three components. The first phase consists of a nutritional training ­designed to help the patients to adopt good eating habits and lose their fear of eating a normal meal. It isn’t a form of nutritional consultation – the patients usually know better than their thera­ pists how many calories are in a portion of spaghetti with meat sauce. But they don’t neces­ sarily know why carbohydrates and fats are also good for them. The second phase is a body ­image therapy. The patients look at themselves repeatedly in the mirror and express their thoughts and fears, much like in the experiments. However, these sessions generally last between 40 and 60 minutes. The girls and young women can’t just slink past the mirror like they can at a department store. “We ask them to look at their body closely and describe in detail what they don’t like about it and what feelings the sight of it evokes in them. In addition, we ask them to pro­ vide a detailed description of body zones they are more or less satisfied with.” The third phase focuses on the topics stress and food, the former representing a host of pressure situations that can vary from person to person, explains the psychologist. “It can have to do with setting the bar too high with regard to one’s performance, having a strong need for control, or wishing to increase one’s sense of self-worth by saying: I’m strong, I don’t need the food, I can stand being hungry.” Tuschen-Caffier and her team evaluated the effect of the therapy on women suffering from eating disorders with the help of questionnaires. The results speak for the effectiveness of the treatment concept so far, but up to now they have only been based on self-evaluations by the patients and evaluations of the patients by the therapists. How reliable is this data? “We aren’t insinuating that anyone is lying deliberately, but it is possible that some of the patients are sugar­ coating their statements – for instance because Further Reading Svaldi, J./Caffier, D./Tuschen-Caffier, B. (2012): Automatic and intentional processing of body pictures in binge eating disorder. In: Psycho­ therapy and Psychosomatics 81/1, pp. 52 – 53. Tuschen-Caffier, B. (2008): Körperbildstörungen. In: Herpertz, S./de Zwaan, M./Zipfel, S. (Hrsg.): Handbuch Essstörungen und Adipo­sitas. ­Berlin/Heidelberg/New York, pp. 82 – 86. Tuschen-Caffier, B. (2005): Konfrontation mit dem eigenen Körperbild. In: Wittchen, H.-U./ Neudeck, P. (Hrsg.): Konfrontationstherapie bei psychischen Störungen. Theorie und ­Praxis. Göttingen, pp. 227 – 248. Prof. Dr. Brunna ­Tuschen-Caffier studied psychology at the University of Heidelberg, where she also earned her PhD. In 1998 she completed her habilitation project, in which she inves- tigated the psychological and physiological stress reactions of women with bulimia nervosa. From 2000 to 2003 she taught and researched at the University of Siegen as a professor of clinical psy- chology. From 2003 to 2007 she held the same position at the University of Bielefeld. Since 2007 Tuschen-Caffier has served as professor of clinical psychology and psychotherapy at the Uni- versity of Freiburg and head of the Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy. Her re- search interests include fundamental research as well as prevention and therapy research, espe- cially on patients with anx- iety and eating disorders. they don’t want to disappoint the therapists,” ­explains Tuschen-Caffier. The data collected by the eye tracker, on the other hand, may be con­ sidered objective. The research team thus plans to ask the same women to stand in front of the mirror with the eye tracker fixed to their heads after the therapy is over with. The team wants to check whether the patients’ viewing patterns with regard to their body have changed after the treatment. Will the patients spend less time dwelling on the parts of their body they are ­dissatisfied with? “If this weren’t the case, then we would have to change our therapy,” says the psychologist. “Combining fundamental research with therapy research is a matter of great per­ sonal importance for me." 31