Joining the discussion on men and eating disorders for International Men’s Day is Andrew Seed, Orri Psychotherapist and lead of Orri’s Men’s Group for male staff. Below, he discusses how eating disorders can develop in men and woman in relation to a patriarchal system, and what themes we can explore for recovery.
At Orri, we strive to give male clients the best possible treatment that reflects to nuance of their experience of their eating disorder…
“One of the factors that can contribute to an eating disorder is when an individual is objectified, when value and worth are put into an achievement or objective measure rather than the quality of the individual. Patriarchal societies situate security in an external outcome measure can leave an individual feeling invalidated and unheard which can form a retreat into a private inner world.
“Patriarchal societies situate security in an external outcome measure can leave an individual feeling invalidated and unheard which can form a retreat into a private inner world.”
“This can form an unrest that seeks worth outside of the self, always needing to achieve the next thing to feel worthy. Traditionally, the stereotype of a man is associated with power, control, and the creation of knowledge and values. This can leave woman and men who do not fit this stereotype silenced and their emotional world unheard. One reaction to this is to expel the unheard emotions through secondary means and this can be a factor in the development of an eating disorder.”
Andrew recognises the importance of offering a space to explore these themes to our male staff at Orri, so that they can best support our clients…
“At Orri we run a men’s group for male staff, the men’s group is a form of direct action that acknowledges and addresses the negative aspects of masculine role performance. In the men’s group the route to change is through mutual reflection, recognition, and support.
We meet weekly to explore challenges faced, impasses reached and move towards exploring each of us finds ourselves conforming or transgressing the traditional stereotype of man. Working in a caring role that has traditionally been considered a female profession we explore how we can perform masculinity in a way that honours the many parts of ourselves.
This is with the intention of best support our clients and for those who have had negative experiences of masculinity to experience a healing interpersonal space with a man, a witnessing of pain that can form the basis of healing from interpersonal wounds.”