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Karr, B. (1998). Lost for Words: The Psychoanalysis of Anorexia and Bulimia. By Em Farrell. London: Process Press. £9.95. Pp. xv + 104.. Psychoanal. Psychother., 12(3):284-286.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 12(3):284-286

Lost for Words: The Psychoanalysis of Anorexia and Bulimia. By Em Farrell. London: Process Press. £9.95. Pp. xv + 104.

Review by:
Brett Karr

In December of 1892 and January of 1893, Freud published a brief communication, in two parts, translated as A Case of Successful Treatment by Hypnotism: With Some Remarks on the Origin of Hysterical Symptoms Through ‘Counter-Will’ (Freud 1892-93), arguable the first psychoanalytical contribution to the study of eating disorders, describing the case of a primiparous mother who developed loss of appetite after her newborn baby experienced feeding difficulties. Freud treated this young woman with hypnotic suggestion, and after the series of interventions, both the mother and her child fed successfully.

Since the appearance of Freud's article, the psychoanalytical understanding and treatment of the eating disorders has become a significant field of enquiry in its own right, with a large body of literature, and justly so, because anorexic and bulimic patients experience a great deal of psychic turmoil, and many can benefit vastly from professional help. Not only do these individuals suffer psychologically, but many of them live on the brink of death as a result of the physical sequelae of eating disorders.

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