Listening in the dark: why we need stories of people living with severe and enduring anorexia nervosa

Janet Conti, Paul Rhodes*, Heather Adams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
71 Downloads (Pure)


A bold step forward in our approach to Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa invites new paradigms for research and practice. It provides an opportunity for us to explore fault lines, both in our communities of practice and the social structures that inform them. This paper serves to question the medical metaphors on which treatment has been based, in favour of alternative perspectives that resonate more clearly with the lived experience of those for whom it has failed. We invite the consideration of alternative metaphors, which can disrupt the notion of heroic patients (and therapists), mediate against acts of self-silencing and sensitising us to more radical acts of listening. Beyond the randomised trials and manuals it is time for us to listen to the realities of suffering, the minutiae of resistance and the life that can still be lived.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Metaphor
  • Narrative inquiry
  • SE-AN
  • Severe and enduring anorexia nervosa


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