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Hewitt, P. (2009). The Anorexic Mind by Marilyn Lawrence. Published by Karnac, London, 2008; 143 pp; £18.99.. Brit. J. Psychother., 25(1):120-124.

(2009). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 25(1):120-124

The Anorexic Mind by Marilyn Lawrence. Published by Karnac, London, 2008; 143 pp; £18.99.

Review by:
Philip Hewitt

The Anorexic Mind by Marilyn Lawrence is part of the Tavistock Series and an important addition to the literature on anorexia. The author is able to give her work a ‘dual focus’ as she draws on experience from private psychoanalytic practice and work in the hospital setting each with its own advantages and limitations. It is worth emphasizing that Lawrence also writes with a modesty which, in my view, has the effect of giving a steady and thoughtful feel throughout the book. This is one of the qualities that illumines just how powerful are psychoanalytic theories of mind, yet often at their best when just discreetly a part of the therapeutic culture. At the same time Marilyn Lawrence is a psychoanalyst who tells us of her ‘belief in the continuity of life and development in human individuals’ (p. 4). This emerges as axiomatic of the whole book which is a serious scientific clinical work, yet we also we get a deep sense of compassion and understanding of the psychic terrors and controls which support a fortress of resistant symptoms frustrating therapeutic endeavours.

In ‘Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Debates’ (Chapter Two) Lawrence brings to mind the patient who once told me of her ‘awesome experience of starving and so being in control of her own body’.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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