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Pitcairn, W.M. (2013). The Spectre at the Feast: An Exploration of the Relationship between the Dead Mother Complex and Eating Disorders. Brit. J. Psychother., 29(1):41-56.

(2013). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 29(1):41-56

The Spectre at the Feast: An Exploration of the Relationship between the Dead Mother Complex and Eating Disorders

Wendy M. Pitcairn

This paper sets out to explore the relationship between postnatal depression in a mother and the subsequent development of an eating disorder in her daughter who was seen for individual work. It is suggested that postnatal depression impacted negatively on the developing relationship between the mother and her infant producing an insecure attachment leading to the development of an eating disorder. This is explored with particular reference to Green's concept of the dead mother complex. Parallels are drawn between the dead mother complex and the psychopathology of eating disorders and a number of common themes are identified.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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