Psychological kinship between fat therapists and fat patients: healing and solidarity around stigma, family relationships, and body image

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While therapist matching between patient and therapist based on race and gender has received much scholarly attention, and some work has examined fatness in therapy for either the patient or the therapist, little has been written about therapies that involve fat therapists and fat patients. This manuscript explores the psychological kinship of the patient and therapist relationship when both identify as fat, particularly as connected to therapeutic work on self, body, and family relationships. I draw from four case studies from the last two years of my therapeutic practice (shared within the context of an IRB-approved study) in order to make specific and broader speculations about the ways that being a fat therapist working with a fat patient informed the therapeutic work. Specifically, I discuss six areas of focus in working as a fat therapist with fat patients: food struggles, body image, attachment/loss, medical challenges, fat stigma, and family conflict. Solidarities around fat oppression, reimagining fatness in family and couples dynamics, and situating therapists as needing to do fat-affirmative work were all explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFat Studies
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • family therapy
  • fat embodiment
  • fat stigma
  • psychological kinship
  • Psychotherapy
  • romantic relationships
  • therapist matching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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