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Kadish, Y. (2013). Two types of psychic encapsulation in anorexia. Psychoanal. Psychother., 27(1):60-76.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 27(1):60-76

Two types of psychic encapsulation in anorexia

Yael Kadish

This paper suggests that it is theoretically necessary and clinically useful to make a distinction between two types of psychic encapsulation within the broader literature. The proposed distinction, as it relates to these psychic structural manifestations, is illustrated here as applied to anorexia. The author suggests that psychic encapsulation is commonly encountered in work with anorexics, and that each type seems to imply a somewhat different therapeutic course. The distinction is made between anorexic patients who appear to display evidence of autistic/autistoid encapsulation as opposed to those who seem to manifest non-autistoid/later traumatic encapsulation – termed secondary adjunctive encapsulation in this paper. Defensive encapsulations are associated with pathological organisations of the personality – both within and beyond these structures, they exert an organising power over central mental processes. Psychic encapsulation and pathological organisations are defensive structural developments – the result of psychic trauma. Clinical material from three cases is presented to illustrate the arguments.

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