Treating ultra-orthodox adolescents with eating disorders in Israel: Culturally-sensitive interventions, difficulties, and dilemmas

Yael Latzer, Daniel Stein, Eliezer Witztum

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Young ultra-Orthodox women in Israel have been faced in recent years with a greater risk of developing disordered eating, as they are more exposed to Westernized norms of the thin-body ideal, self-realization, and personal choice. Most are treated by mainstream Israeli psychotherapists who likely have different value systems and different perspectives on the nature of the illness, aims of treatment, and recovery. Ultra-Orthodox psychotherapists may well experience a conflict between a need to be loyal to their patients and a concomitant need to honor the values of patients’ families and the community from which they come. The current article presents a theoretical background and four case studies highlighting the complexities and controversies inherent in the treatment of these women. We conclude that both ultra-Orthodox and mainstream secular psychotherapists must be knowledgeable in regard to both Judaism and psychology, and be flexible, creative, and emphatic to all parties, to arrive at a compromised definition of recovery that can be accepted by the patient, her family, and her community.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1455-1468
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
    Volume75
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 1 Aug 2019

    Keywords

    • Israel
    • Jewish
    • culture
    • eating disorders
    • religiosity
    • ultra-Orthodox

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Clinical Psychology

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