The reciprocal interaction between psychotherapy and theoretical
assumptions is illustrated through observations of anorexia nervosa.
Traditional psychoanalysis, with its emphasis on interpretation of
unconscious processes, was found to be rather ineffective, whereas an
approach evoking active participation on the part of the patient led to
better treatment results. The experience of being listened to appeared to
be of utmost importance. The characteristic deficits in self-concept and
body awareness could be related to a paucity or an absence of confirming
responses in the early mother-child interactions. This concept reinforced
the focus on encouragement of initiative and autonomy during therapy.