Rosa Calvo Ph. D.

rosa_calvo1Since the start of my professional career at Madrid’s anti-alcohol medical clinic, in 1971, where I completed my thesis on “Controlled drinking in the treatment of alcoholic patients”, I collaborated with the Psychiatry service of “La Paz” University Hospital. Some patients with anorexia arrived sporadically at the hospital.These were times of TSH and TRH, but there was also a growing interest to understand the mental disorder from a psychological point of view and applying behavioral principles in the recovery process of this eating pathology.

In 1974 I started working as a Clinical Psychologist at “La Paz” Hospital and I began studying the brain in neurology and neurosurgery patients, through the works of Professor, Luria, Hecaén, etc. Cases of eating disorders were limited to two-three per year, but by the end of that decade and at the beginning of the 80s, they began to increase exponentially.

In 1997-78 I attended the course on Behavioral Therapy conducted by Dr. Joseph Wolpe at the Easter Pensilvania Psychiatric Institute at Temple University. Besides my studies at Temple, I was able to attend the courses on Systemic Family Therapy in patients with anorexia given by Professor Salvador Minuchin and Doctor Harry Aponte at the Child Guidance Clinic.

From the 80s, my work at the hospital focused mainly on eating disorders and the neuropsychology and right-sided hemisphere disorders (agnosia, spatial heminegligences and body image distortion).

In 1982, I was initiated into meditation techniques by Gururaj Ananda Yogi.These techniques, that I have been practicing since, have allowed me to integrate Mindfulness techniques as a therapeutical supplement to other treatments, with a focus on increasing self-awareness, reducing impulsivity and obsessive thoughts, easing both physical and mental tension and giving a response to our much desired seek of happiness and truth which is behind the drive of every human being. My experience in using this method as a character building tool has helped me to develop a method and an understanding of the spiritual dimension of human beings that can be easily adapted satisfactorily by many professionals on my field as well as of other fields of psychology and the neuro-sciences.

With the time, I became an expert on this field and, progressively, other specialists in Spain started to send me patients with chronic eating disorders, unwilling to change, and who had suffered from EDs for many years without experiencing any positive change. In the 90s, I was already specialized in long-term patients and I had started my research on the understanding of chronicity.

In 1998, I presented at the “European Council of Eating Disorders Meeting” held in Stockholm, my first data about the cognitive-emotional traits of chronic eating-disordered patients.This study highlighted the existence of two different group of patients with eating disorders: a first, less severe, group for which the disorder was related to their will of having a thinner/perfect body as a form of self-stem; and a second group that for who the disease was a mean of having an identity which gave them self-value and existence. Patients on this second group, more severe, tend to become chronic and are more difficult to be treated. The data obtained, together with the clinical experience, have permitted me to develop a specific treatment for these long-term patients, which has given very positive results.

In 2006, I was offered the direction and coordination of the Eating Disorders Units and Santa Cristina’s Hospital in Madrid. Since, my team and I have treated more than 300 patients, and obtained improvements and total recoveries in patients with up to 20 years of chronicity.

In parallel to my clinical work at the Hospital, I was a lecturer at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, where I conducted a course on “Behavior modification techniques” from 1978 to 1983. Since then, I have also supervised several colleagues and I have tutored the entrance examinations for Psicology Resident Interns (PIR) at La Paz Hospital until my transfer to Santa Cristina’s. I am currently managing the Master’s Degree in Eating Orders and Obesity at the Universidad Europea de Madrid.


To contact me please visit my website at

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