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

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 - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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