ABSTRACT

To survey the research on eating disorders is to discover that there is no single agreed upon basis for them. The existing ®ndings, however, do permit us to postulate one. I believe the Ariadne thread that can lead us through the labyrinth of the literature on eating disorders can be found in the emotions that the individual patients reported on have unconsciously attached to their eating. If we pick up on the clues as to what these emotions are by following their affective tracks, just as we must do with any complex in¯uencing behavior at an unconscious level, we will discover not only the affects involved, but the way they have pathologically conditioned the normal Hunger±Satiety drive that is part of these patients' biological birthright. We also will be able to understand how the therapies that worked managed to release this innate, natural Hunger±Satiety drive from the crimp of conditioning. This is the way this book will read the literature on eating disorders. We need at the outset, therefore, to unpack what is meant by emotional conditioning of the Hunger±Satiety drive. We assume that the common basis of both pathology and normality are the affects that are brought to bear on the developing individual's feeding situation, and that this can be uncovered by (1) taking a developmental history of the patient's emotions when eating and (2) studying the same emotions when they are displayed in the presence of a therapist. Often we have to read between the lines of what is in the literature to reconstruct either of these, but it can be done. With an understanding of the innate affective system of the infant, which we would designate as the ``Archetypal affect system,'' we can begin to identify which innate affects are being expressed and which are suppressed in the emotions a patient displays around eating. We still need to show, however, how these have affected the functioning of the Hunger±Satiety drive.