Bulimia as perception

[From Rick Marken (2006.05.26.1050)]

Bill Powers (2006.05.25.1945 MDT)

I see bulimia as a class of perceptions in the mind of the examining doctor or therapist, not primarily some specific problem in the patient.

I can see from re-reading my posts that I might have given the impression that I thought that there was really some kind of "disease" called "bulimia", a disease with a particular cause. In fact, when I talked about bulimia I only had in my mind what Bill describes above -- a class of perceptions of another person's behavior.

I think of the term "bulimia" as pointing to a class of perceptions of behavior that involves bingeing and purging (which are themselves classes of perceptions). I assume that we are looking at one case at a time and trying to understand why we are seeing what we see as "bulimia" in each particular case. The usefulness of PCT to me is that it helps me keep in mind that, in each individual case, you can't tell what the person is doing (what they are controlling for) by simply looking at what they are doing (that is, by looking at the behaviors that we class as "bulimic"). But PCT certainly does suggest hypotheses about what might be going on in each individual case. And this is what I meant to propose as the possible reasons for any individual case of what we see as "bulimia". I thought of two possibilities -- oscillating conflict and control of binge-purge cycle -- and Bill thought of several others -- like controlling for a level of food input that creates digestive distress resulting in regurgitation. If I gave the impression that I thought PCT could be used to tell an observer (such as a therapist) the actual reason for any individual case of what is seen as bulimic behavior, then I gave the wrong impression.




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