"Hunger for Connection"

Hunger for Connection: Finding the Meaning in Eating Disorders

Who develops which eating disorder and why? When do eating disorders begin and what fuels them? Hunger for Connection: Finding Meaning in Eating Disorders , expands on the "body/mind" personality organization I call the "perseverant personality," illustrating how food and thought are linked from infancy, and for some, can become the primary source of nurturance and thought processing for a lifetime--leading to what we call an eating disorder.

Hunger for Connection introduces nearly a dozen innovative terms to the psychological literature that help capture and give new meaning to the solitary, cyclical, (or "perseverant") eating and thinking patterns of bulimia, binge-eating disorder, and "yo-yo" binge/dieting—explaining how and why they differ from what I call the "restrictor" disorders of anorexia, chronic starvation dieting, and chronic (non-medical) obesity. In Hunger for Connection, I tell engaging stories and provide illustrations of interactions with patients, combining my relational psychoanalytic perspective with meditative and cognitive-behavioral strategies to propose the "both/and" treatment approach I call "un-covery." Writing in a jargon-free style, I hope you will find humor and gentleness in my interactions with patients and much "food for thought" about how people try to help themselves--not hurt themselves or others--by way of their eating disorders.

Dr. Alitta Kullman Award

My goal in Hunger for Connection is to offer health professionals an essential guide to understanding and working with cyclical eating disorders of all types, and mainstream readers a new way of understanding themselves and the challenges they or their loved ones face. From psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, and counsellors, to eating disorder specialists, researchers, students and sufferers, Hunger for Connection not only provides guidelines for therapists of varying theoretical orientations and levels of expertise, but help and hope to people who suffer with eating disorders and those who care for and about them.

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And here are some reviews on Amazon:

"Dr. Kullman gives us a superbly detailed and profoundly insightful account of eating disorders, forms they take, structures and roots. She covers a lot of ground with depth and wisdom. It is a book steeped in experience, at once clinically useful and highly creative, with much to offer a wide variety of readers."-Michael Eigen, Ph.D., author ofThe Sensitive Self, Contact With the Depths, and Birth of Experience.

"Alitta Kullman has accomplished a somewhat remarkable feat. Drawing on forty years of clinical experience with hundreds of eating disordered patients, she has managed to write a text that is both accessible to practitioners who are new to working with this population and relevant to those with many years of experience. Her writing is clear and compelling, and she does a masterful job of integrating cutting edge theory with vivid clinical examples. Whether you are looking for a singular definitive volume on working with patients who struggle with food or are seeking to add to your existing library on eating disorders, you will want to own Hunger for Connection."-Steven Kuchuck, Editor, Clinical Implications of the Psychoanalyst’s Life Experience: When the Personal Becomes Professional, and President-Elect, International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP).

"Dr. Kullman addresses eating disorders from a standpoint of sensitivity, knowledge, and experience. Hunger for Connection offers a clear and comprehensive appreciation of the roots of eating disorders in the emotional context of the earliest feeding relationship. It is beautifully presented and detailed, and reflects her own unique understandings and experiences. She combines compassion with theoretical and clinical sophistication to elucidate the interpersonal complexities and communications that are conveyed when the basic process of eating is disturbed. Her formulations are intricate, elegant, and offered in a manner that is accessible, engaging, and exciting."-Naomi Rucker, Ph.D., Psychologist and Psychoanalyst, co-author of Subject Relations: Unconscious Experience and Relational Psychoanalysis.

"Hunger for Connection made me hungry for more of Kullman's informative and innovative ideas about how food obsessions replace thinking as a way to manage life's many ups and downs. As someone who has tried many diets over the years, I followed Dr. Kullman’s patients’ efforts to manage their eating disorders with great interest―especially how their therapist used both their relationship and their unearthing of long-buried family conflicts to change their lives. As a practicing psychoanalyst I found Dr. Kullman's positive approach to a wide range of eating disorders clinically helpful, illuminating, and eminently readable."- -Justin A Frank, MD, Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst.

"As a psychoanalyst and psychologist specializing in Eating Disorders myself, I have known about Dr. Alitta Kullman’s work since her article first appeared in the professional journal, "Psychoanalytic Dialogues." I have often referred to her article as I struggle to understand my own eating disorder patients. I eagerly look forward to being able to use her book as a reference for my patients, and hope it will soon be in print."-Janet K. Smith, Ph.D., Psychologist and Psychoanalyst.
"As a psychologist specializing in Eating and Body Image Disorders, I find Dr. Alitta Kullman’s writing to be unusually innovative and engaging. She ties together in a uniquely engrossing style clinical and theoretical ideas about the "perseverant" personality, a phrase she coined, which so aptly describes a core dynamic of eating disordered patients. Alitta is bound to write a gripping book, which I look forward to sharing with my patients, supervision groups and other professional colleagues."-Judith Ruskay Rabinor, Ph.D., Psychologist, author of A Starving Madness: Tales of Hunger, Hope, and Healing in Psychotherapy.

"I just finished reading your published article on the "perseverant personality, and I just wanted to say thank you. I have never read anything that has been more accurate in depicting what my internal world is really like. Your theory was spot on in every dimension. I can’t wait to show my therapist....I hope you continue your work as I will look for anything you publish, for it has given me much hope."- Message to the author via Psychology Today.