Stories I Tell My Patients by Arnold Andersen, M.D., has been an intermittent feature in Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention from 1993 to 2015. The complete set of 101 stories is collected here for the first time. Combining myth, metaphor, fable, tall tale, and inventive fantasy, they help professionals and patients alike overcome eating disorders.
An eclectic mix, Arnold's stories are both entertaining and insightful. Some are vaguely familiar, such as the retelling of "The Emperor Has No Clothes" or Faustian deals with the devil. There are knights in shining armor, time machines, intergalactic travelers, stories derived from Greek mythology, anorexic saints of the 16th century, and current events. Most of the stories sprang from Arnold's imagination, and many were inspired by his direct interactions with patients. Inanimate objects such as buoys and thermometers carry on conversations, and descriptions of Paris reflect the author's love of that beautiful city.
The stories are not meant ultimately to cure eating disorders but rather to get attention and convey an idea. No matter how old we get, we can relate to roses and bike trips, shadows and catsup.