Mirroring Voices of Mother, Daughter and Therapist in Anorexia Nervosa
The experiences of women with eating disorders and the meanings drawn from these experiences are largely hidden from health care professionals and thus are poorly represented in clinical and academic discourse. This study examined interpersonal relationships in the context of anorexia nervosa between an adolescent, her mother, and therapist revealed in their private and intimate diaries, letters, and reflections. Using narrative processes, we analyzed complex communication between the daughter and mother. The results reflected their written dialogue, represented their stories, and were validated by them. The core story, mirroring voices, documents the reciprocal processing of experiences and perceptions between the daughter and mother that facilitate the daughter's recovery. Six threads of mirroring voices include "being implicitly there for each other," "writing gives us voice," "centering on ourselves," "measuring up," "anorexic bitch," and "pain has a name." The findings suggest the use of similar strategies by the daughter and mother to manage the anorexia nervosa by recasting it as an intrusion requiring their united efforts. The major implication is that health professionals consider the mother-daughter interaction as a resource.