The Different Faces of Bulimia is a research project that has represented a journey. It began with the question “How do females experience bulimia as part of their lives?” and moved through rooms where different ‘faces’, or theories on bulimia, were met with and interviewed. There appear to exist, in literature concerning bulimia, five dominant faces on the matter. These are the Psychopathology face, the Psychoanalytic face, the Cognitive-behavioural face, the Cyberspace face, and the Narrative face. Each of these appeared to offer an individual and different meaning of bulimia. The research extended to include the sixth and seventh faces of C and L, two women who live with bulimia in their own lives, and the meaning that they attach to it. They represented the individual faces that existed in human interaction and not in the words of books, magazines, or computer screens. The meaning of bulimia in C and L’s lives was searched for in interviews with both women that were audio-recorded and transcribed. The analysis of these was done in line with narrative methodology which holds that our experience is constructed in collaboration with history (or past experience) and culture. Both history and culture is assumed to inform and co-author the narratives of bulimia in C and L lives, as well in the lives of the five dominant faces explored in this research. The analysis took the form of searching for the meaning that C and L attach to bulimia. The five dominant literary faces also became the history and culture that one supposes women living with bulimia to co-exist with, and their effect on their personal narratives became important. That is, whether the dominant literary faces had an effect on the stories told by the faces of these two women. In line with narrative methodology, this research’s aim was not to provide one final answer or conclusion to the research question, but rather to provide an analysis of the individual meanings contained in each face. It has, in effect, added another face of bulimia in it’s search for what bulimia means.
Dissertation (MA (Counselling Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2007.