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Zerbe, K.J. (1998). Eating Problems: A Feminist Psychoanalytic Treatment Model. By Carol Bloom, Andrea Gitter, Susan Gutwill, Laura Kogel, and Lela Zaphiropoulos: (Women's Therapy Center Institute). New York: Basic Books, 1994, 278 pp., $42.00. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(2):631-634.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(2):631-634

FEMINISM AND FEMALE PSYCHOLOGY

Eating Problems: A Feminist Psychoanalytic Treatment Model. By Carol Bloom, Andrea Gitter, Susan Gutwill, Laura Kogel, and Lela Zaphiropoulos: (Women's Therapy Center Institute). New York: Basic Books, 1994, 278 pp., $42.00

Review by:
Kathryn J. Zerbe

Feminism and psychoanalysis are currently undergoing an inevitable but uneasy rapprochement. Less than two decades ago, emerging feminist treatment models considered in-depth psychological approaches nugatory, entreating women to overcome their plight as victims of patriarchy by social confrontation alone. Meanwhile, psychoanalysis itself was concurrently being reshaped by a renewed interest in gender and gender issues. A host of studies, papers, and books emerged challenging Freud's views of women. They incorporated early but neglected analytic perspectives of women (e.g., those of Horney, Jones), recast antiquated ideas about mothering, fathering, and adult development, and focused on how the gender of analyst and analysand influences psychoanalytic dialogue, countertransference, and technique. Eating Problems: A Feminist Psychoanalytic Treatment Model is an outgrowth of these developments in psychoanalysis, with special application to the understanding of anorexia, bulimia, and obesity. This edited volume evocatively integrates seemingly antithetical, competing traditions in the field. Readers on the periphery of psychoanalysis or the treatment of eating disorders may wonder what trends in the subspecialty have led to the necessary, if belated, amalgamation that Bloom and her coauthors address here.

One major impetus is the growing body of evidence that large numbers of patients with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa continue to suffer from these eating disorders even after several years of what most authorities consider “comprehensive treatment.”

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