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Book Review: Embodiment and the Treatment of Eating Disorders


Although Embodiment and The Treatment of Eating Disorders, originally published at the New York Journal of Books, is a scholarly work for clinicians, understanding its premise and promise may help you overcome your eating disorder.

Psychologist, author, professor and researcher Catherine Cook-Cottone, herself recovered from body obsession, dieting and overeating, bases her treatment approach on the concept that troubled eaters are dis-embodied and that the way to recover is to move in the direction of wholeness. Being disconnected from emotional and physical needs is exactly why you are often filled with internal conflict.

What I mean by conflict is, for example, yearning to be noticed and cherished while remaining steadfastly emotionally tucked away, lest relationships lead to getting hurt; pursuing others’ approval while hating how infantile and dependent this makes you feel; knowing how you want your body to look but not who you are inside it; and driving yourself harder and harder to appear strong while secretly feeling weak and helpless.

Cook-Cottone knows that you must heal these conflicts to feel less fragmented and more integrated. She understands that you are at once at war with yourselves and at war with the world. Her work on embodiment asks that you call a truce and start putting these pieces of yourself back together to form one coherent whole.

This means getting to know your body and mind in and out and being able to answer questions like: what does exhausted versus well rested feel like, when does no longer hungry become stuffed, what calms your agitation or agitates your calm, what triggers you to run away from your emotions and dive into food, and who are you when you are alone versus with others?

What is embodiment? “‘When embodied,’ Cook-Cottone says, “we are living in and from the body.” It is no longer the enemy, something separate from the rest of self to be controlled or punished. To Cook-Cottone, embodiment is not only a human right, but the right from which all others grow. Her goal is for the body to become a resource for physical and emotional transformation.”

Are you estranged from your body and emotions? Worse, do you not even realize that there’s a healthier, intra-connected way to live that shores up the self into a whole unlike no other on earth—you? If you are ready to become more embodied and give up your eating disorder, take a look at this Embodiment at Norton Professional Books.