As formulated by Crisp et al. (1991), individual psychodynamic therapy aims at maturational issues associated with puberty and adolescence. In two trials of this modality, substantial improvements in patient groups (including adolescents and adults) were found in both medical/nutritional recovery and psychological functioning (Crisp et al. 1991; Hall and Crisp 1987). In 1999, Robin et al. used ego-oriented individual therapy, a manualized form of individual psychodynamic therapy, in a small randomized clinical trial (RCT) comparing individual therapy and family therapy (described in the following section). Ego-oriented individual therapy devised for adolescents posits that individuals with anorexia nervosa
manifest ego deficits and confuse control with biological needs. Anorexia nervosa represents a disruption in normal ego development. To recover, patients must develop sufficient self-efficacy to successfully separate and individuate from their family of origin. To develop better self-efficacy, patients must first learn to identify and define their emotions, and later to tolerate negative emotions.
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