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Healing Eating Disorders with Psychodrama and Other Action Methods – Beyond the Silence and the Fury

Healing Eating Disorders - Psychodrama and other Action Methodsby Karen Carnabucci, MSS, LCSW, LISW-S, TEP, and Linda Ciotola, M.Ed., TEP, CET III ,
Jessica Kingsley Publisher

‘To receive 20% off of Healing Eating Disorders with Psychodrama and Other Action Methods, use code HEAL13 when ordering the book from www.jkp.com or by calling toll-free 1-866-416-1078.’

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Please click here to enjoy reading the preface and first two chapters of our new book, “Healing Eating Disorders with Psychodrama and Other Action Methods: Beyond the Silence and the Fury,”

The authors describe how they have introduced action methods to work with a diverse range of clients, and suggest ways in which psychodrama practitioners, experiential therapists and others may integrate these methods into their practices. Offering fresh ideas for tailoring psychodramatic standards such as The Living Newspaper, Magic Shop and the Social Atom to eating disorder issues, they provide extensive examples of psychodrama interventions – classic and specially adapted for eating disorders – for both the experienced practitioner and those new to experiential therapies. They also explain how psychodrama can be used in combination with other expressive, holistic and complementary approaches, including interpersonal neurobiology, music, Five Element Acupuncture-Philosophy and Treatment, yoga, family constellations, art, imagery, ritual, Reiki and other energy work.


Karen Carnabucci, MSS, LCSW, LISW-S, TEP, is a licensed clinical social worker and board-certified trainer, educator and award-winning practitioner of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy. She has worked with people with depression, anxiety, trauma, eating disorders and body image dissatisfaction since 1989, facilitating workshops, groups and individual sessions. Her training and psychotherapy practice is based in Racine, Wisconsin. She is the co-author of Integrating Psychodrama and Systemic Constellation Work: New Directions for Action Methods, Mind-Body Therapies and Energy Healing, also published by JKP.

Web: http://www.lakehousecenter.com
Wellness blog: http://lakehouseracine.blogspot.com
Coaching blog: http://midwestpsychodrama.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lakehousecenter
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/karencarnabucci

Linda Ciotola, M.Ed., TEP, CET III, is also a board-certified trainer, educator and award-winning practitioner of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy, as well as a certified health education specialist with 40 years’ experience in education, group facilitation and lifestyle counseling. She has worked with people with eating disorders and body image issues since 1990 in hospital, educational, and private settings. She is an American Council on Exercise Gold Certified Personal Trainer, an ACE Certified Group Fitness and Yoga Instructor, an ACE Gold Certified Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant, as well as a certified Reiki Master practitioner. She lives in Grasonville, Maryland.

Blog Post from JKP author Linda Ciotola—Learn to Love Your Body Through Yoga

For information on advanced sale, contact JKP :www.jkp.com
Contact Karen and / or Linda
Karen: karenc@wi.rr.com
Linda: linda.healingbridges@gmail.com


  • 2014 Crouch: Occupational Therapy in Psychiatry and Mental Health VM Alers Wiley Blackwell London 2014 (Chapter contribution)

  • Spring, 2014 Teamwork and Trauma Recovery, (co-authored with Nancy Alexander, LCSW-C, The Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry)

  • February, 2013 Healing Eating Disorders With Psychodrama and Other Action Methods – Beyond the Silence & the Fury (co-authored with Karen Carnabucci and published by Jessica Kingsley, London)

  • March, 2008 “The Body Dialogue” (Dialog mit dem Korper) Zeitschrift fur Psychodrama und Soziometrie

  • Spring, 2006 “The Body Dialogue” The Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama and Sociometry.

  • January, 2006 “Action Methods and Eating Disorders” Perspective Renfrew Periodical.

  • 2003 “The Body Double: An Experiential Intervention for Eating Disorders” International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals Newsletter (co-authored with Katherine Hudgins, Ph.d., TEP)

  • 2000 “The Three Faces of Eating Disorders” – Art-To-Action Structure, co-authored with Kathy Metcalf, LCSW, TEP, unpublished article, presented at the ASGPP as the 3 Faces of Eating Disorders (March 30, 2000, New York City) (will be included in a book on Action Methods with Eating Disorders)

Book Reviews

“Karen Carnabucci is a social worker and practitioner of psychodrama and group psychotherapy. During the past 20 years she has worked with people with depression, anxiety, trauma, eating disorders and body image dissatisfaction. Linda Ciotola is also a practitioner of psychodrama, group psychotherapy and a team leader in the Therapeutic Spiral Model of Psychodrama and a certified health education specialist. Linda also has over 20 years of experience of working with people with eating disorders and body image issues. In this text the authors present the current theory behind psychodrama and action methods and how these can be a helpful treatment method for individuals with an eating disorder.

The text is a very in-depth and solid book offering 1 7 chapters. After introducing the scale of the problem experienced by men, women and children within the USA and defining the different eating disorders and characteristics, there is a focus on Neuroscience research outlining the conditions and activities that promote healing of the brain and how action methods are reparative. The feminist, developmental and addiction perspectives are reviewed and how these impact on illnesses and treatment options. Detailed information on the history of dieting and the link between eating disorders and trauma is also included. Details on eating disorders and the ancestral connection are then presented and family constellation work is introduced. The final chapter of the text looks at spirituality and eating disorders.

Action methods and activities are suggested throughout the text to accompany each chapter’s content and to explore how issues can be highlighted and individuals can be helped by the creative methods. The majority of the activities are aimed at adults; however a chapter is focused on adapting some of the psychodrama techniques for children and additional methods including the use of fairy tales are included. Further advice is also given on supporting and working with the parents and variations of the activities are also provided to meet individual needs. The connection between food, feelings and relationships is at the heart of many of the activities. Some of the activities included within this text involve creating timelines to review significant influences in the individual’s life, mandala making and role play. Valuable case studies are provided throughout demonstrating how action methods explored within the text have assisted individuals.

Additional information is provided in the appendices including expected changes in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a summary of the signs, symptoms and consequences of eating disorders, the equipment within the psychodrama room and finally a range of musical resources in the form of songs.

This book is well presented, clear and very informative, providing many action methods to assist those with eating disorders and the accompanying issues such as fear, sadness and shame. The book is designed for individuals who have knowledge and training is psychodrama, expressive art therapies or other experiential modalities and techniques.”
— Zoe Hebden, big toes little toes

“Prior to reading this book, I did not know what psychodrama was exactly nor was I aware that eating disorders can occur in men and children. The authors have created a book that illuminates the subject in such a compassionate way that is backed up by thorough research that recognizes the contribution of others to the field. As a holistic practitioner I recognize the value of addressing life challenges with a variety of methods that seek to balance mind, body and spirit through pathways that resonate with the individual. What works with one person does not necessarily work with another as we are all individuals with our own experiences that create the person we present to the world as well as our private persona.

I first became familiar with Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory through my YogaKids training. In his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences published in 1983, Gardner outlined 8 intelligent abilities: musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Gardner’s theory promotes the idea that people learn through a combination of pathways. Action methods such as psychodrama tap into multiple modes of discovering patterns and “unlearning” behaviors that undermine health and wellbeing. Moreno’s role theory of personality is based upon somatic (physical), social (interpersonal), and psychodramatic (fantasy) roles. For kinesthetic learners, this approach may be particularly beneficial as they let go of old roles which no longer serve them (mindless eater) and learn new roles which do (mindful eater).

As a Reiki practitioner and teacher, I was delighted that the authors included Reiki as one of the action methods that was used by them synergistically with other methods. Reiki can be integrated into many other modalities with a little creativity. The authors also related how Reiki can bring to the conscious mind of the practitioner information derived intuitively through the Reiki energy practice. This intuitive information that often means little to the practitioner is always significant and focuses light on the exact piece of information or experience that most needs to be brought to the conscious mind of the client. When related in a compassionate way, the information adds to the healing process already begun with the Reiki energy session. I highly recommend this book to any holistic practitioner who is open to new ways to help their clients in their healing process.”
— Dana Limpert, B.S., M.S., Reiki Master Teacher, Usui Shiki Ryoho

“This book is perfectly compelling! I think it’s a textbook for folks who are at the Masters degree or better level. Yet its written in such a way that even the lay person can read it with comprehension and be then inspired to seek help for themselves or a loved one! ”
— Antoinette Fiumos ,M.Ac, acupuncturist and nutritionist

“Here is a creative and refreshing integration of action methods, the use of other creative and expressive arts, well-grounded in currect scientific research on what really works in therapy. There are a wealth of vivid clinical vignettes and the authors also offer variations, making this truly useful to practitioners.”
— Adam Blatner, M.D., TEP (author of other internationally known texts on psychodrama)

“This work represents a synthesis of…tremendous knowledge and skill acquired over years of working with people with eating disorders….I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of the wisdom, creative ideas, and concrete techniques included. Linda and Karen bring a wealth of talent- in psychodrama, yoga, bodywork, holistic health, spirituality, nutrition, Constellation work, and many other areas – to their collaboration. The book is clearly written , well-organized, and contains many ideas and techniques readers can readily apply to their practice settings.”
— Catherine D. Nugent, M.S.,M.S., LPC, TEP , Psychotherapist , Psychodramatist, and Fellow of the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama.Laurel, Md.

“Masterful and brilliant….reads like a novel…language is powerful, sophisticated, and clear …(the authors) manage to span the human experience, the science and the human experience in both dramatic and intellectually challenging ways. It is clear that (they write) not only from highly developed personal selves but from deeply attuned experiential selves. (The) book will serve as a ‘keynote speaker’ across the field, quoted by those who follow and used by practitioners everywhere.”
— Nancy Alexander, LCSW-C, Psychotherapist, author and TAE (certified trained auxiliary ego , Therapeutic Spiral ModelTM ) . Columbia, Md.

“Karen and Linda bring both their skill as psychodramatists as well as their sensitivity as healing practitioners to their writing, creating a work that is long overdue in the field. It is thoughtful, practical, and eminently readable; a valuable resource for anyone working with this population.”
— Mario Cossa, M.A,R.D.T./M.T.,C.A.W.T., T.E.P , drama therapist, pscyhodramatist, author, Rebels with a Cause

“Clear, graceful writing and terrific content.”
— Joan Lewin, dance-movement therapist and author, Dance Therapy Notebook

“This innovative book on eating disorders and safe action therapy is a seminal contribution to both fields of psychotherapy. The authors, Carnabucci and Ciotola, share their experience as clinical practitioners of safe psychodrama, constellation work, and other body-based healing practices such as the Therapeutic Spiral Model, in eloquent stories of important healing work with people healing from eating disorders. A must have for your library if you work with people that have eating disorders in themselves or their families.”
— Kate Hudgins Ph.D, TEP, clinical psychologist, psychodramatist , creator of The Therapeutic Spiral Model TM, international author and trainer

“With a focus on action methods, neuroscience and trauma, this book gives experienced psychodramatists and clinicians new to the field effective and safe ways of using action to heal both women and men struggling with eating disorders, and help them transform their lives. A valuable addition to the library of anyone in the field.”
— Rebecca Walters MS LCAT LMHC TEP, Co-Director, Hudson Valley Psychodrama Institute

“This book is a wonderful tool to the therapist who specalizes in eating disorders and is looking for psychodrama techniques to assist with the healing. It is comprehensive in its approach to eating disorders, and issues with the body, trauma, and food. I know the authors who are dedicated healers. A welcomed addition to the psyschodrama and eating disorder field. Mary Bellofatto MA, LMHC, NCC, chater member of IAEDP, Past President of IAEDP board and a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist, Trainer Educator, Practioner of Psychodrama. Fellow of ASGPP, past Treasurer of The Executive Council of ASGPP and present secretary of The Executive Council of ASGPP,I would recommend this book to all healers.”
— Mary Bellofatto

“I am not a therapist, but I have found this book to be highly readable and full of information. I have used these modalities and know for myself that they have helped me when I was working on my eating disorder. This book is a must read for all therapists and people with eating disorders.
— Mary Catherine R.N.

“…read and using book for my eating disorders group …beautifully written , user friendly, and warm….great exercises and cases.”
— Nancy Kirsner, Ph.D., TEP

“Thanks for this creative way in which you both jointly have composed a book like this, on a very serious and little understood disease. A book on this disorder has been badly needed.”
— Zerka Moreno, TEP, co-developer of psychodrama and most recently author of To Dream Again: A Memoir.