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Birksted-Breen, D. (1989). Working with an Anorexic Patient. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:29-40.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:29-40

Working with an Anorexic Patient

Dana Birksted-Breen


I have discussed anorexia nervosa, in this paper, from the point of view of the anorexic's wish for and fear of fusion with her mother. I have described some of the feelings which are being defended against by this state of fusion, as well as some of the consequences, in particular the lack of a 'transitional space' and what this means for mental development. I illustrated this with the description of the first four years of the ongoing analysis of an anorexic patient, concluding that anorexia is an attempt to annihilate the very nature of human existence—inequality, progression through the life cycle, death.

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