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Ferguson, H. Mendelsohn, S. (2011). Full of Your Self: How Eating Disorder Symptoms Encode a Relational History. Int. J. Psychoanal. Self Psychol., 6(3):352-376.

(2011). International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 6(3):352-376

Full of Your Self: How Eating Disorder Symptoms Encode a Relational History

Heather Ferguson, L.C.S.W. and Sarah Mendelsohn, L.C.S.W.

This article explores the phenomenology of derailed desires: their developmental history and the ways in which the concrete symptoms of the eating-disordered patient reveal personal and interpersonal dilemmas. The authors propose that eating disorder symptoms encode a relational story that serves self-organizing and regulating functions and provides a transitional solution to what has been experienced as an untenable personal and relational bind. The multiple function of eating-disordered behaviors can simultaneously represent a repetitive, self-protective dimension, as well as an adaptive, developmental striving toward a sense of agency and connection. Two case reports discuss how the patient works toward feeling fulfilled without feeling too (dangerously) full of her self.

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