February Lecture – Eating Disorders and Depression

Month: February 2015
Speaker 1 : Harriet Parsons, Services Co-ordinator, Bodywhys
Topic: Eating Disorders & Depression – The Link (26 min)
Summary: Harriet Parsons talks about:

• Our food and how what we eat every day effects our mood.
• What are eating disorder symptoms vs symptoms of depression?
• Features of behaviour that come with an eating disorder
• Eating disorders as coping mechanisms
• Eating disorders and control of the person
• Depression as an obstacle to recovery

Month: February 2015
Speaker 2: Dr Jillian Doyle, Clinical Psychologist, St.Patrick’s University Hospital
Topic: Working Compassionately With Eating Disorders (33 mins)
Summary: Dr Jillian Doyle focusses on the reasons why different coping strategies develop.She explains the psychological model called ‘Compassion Focused Therapy’ first developed by Prof. Paul Gilbert and developed further by Dr. Ken Goss. Central to understanding this model is an understanding of the three stages in evolution of the human brain:

1. Reptilian Brain
2. Mammalian Brain
3. Human Brain

Dr Doyle explains that the three parts of our brain interact all the time and influence three systems referred to as:

• Threat system • Drive system • Sooth System

She also highlights the particular significance of emotions shame and pride.

Dr Doyle invites us to consider depression and eating disorders as coping strategies that a person uses when they are trying to cope with really difficult emotions. Dr Doyle offers us a case study to illustrate how unintended consequences of an eating disorder may develop and come up in depression.

Treatment involves the development of the sooth system which involves being compassionate to ourselves which in turn requires a level of vulnerability.


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