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Tip: To review The Language of Psycho-Analysis…

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Prior to searching a specific psychoanalytic concept, you may first want to review The Language of Psycho-Analysis written by Laplanche & Pontalis. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Zelnick, L. (2014). The Experience of Reading from Inside Thinspiration: A Discussion of “The Enigma of Ana”. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 13(3):235-237.

(2014). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 13(3):235-237

The Experience of Reading from Inside Thinspiration: A Discussion of “The Enigma of Ana”

Lawrence Zelnick

There is so much to be appreciative of in the article, “The Enigma of Ana: A Psychoanalytic Exploration of Pro-Anorexia Internet Forums.” The author stakes out quite an ambitious project for himself: “ … we will understand both more about the psychodynamics of eating disorders as well as the complex relationship between cyberspace and mental health.” Indeed, this article is an open and eye-opening introduction to online pro-ana sites that promote and encourage self-starvation and other dangerous eating disorder behaviors. The author firmly asserts that a nonjudgmental approach to these sites, their function, and their effects as seen through a psychoanalytic lens could lead to an understanding of both the positive and negative in the online pro-ana sites.

This discussion will not dispute or challenge the splendid contribution this article makes toward detoxifying the nature of pro-ana web forums. The author demonstrates, both in narrative style and with his empirical approach, the “double-edged” quality of Internet pro-ana sites. Rather, I would like to focus on the clinical case which is the emotional center piece of the article, meant to demonstrate the positive and negative consequences of his patient’s use of those sites; and especially on the experience of being a reader of this work. I will be suggesting that some of the peak moments in the case material as well as emotional reactions by this reader represent an enactment around desire, sensuality, and sexuality in the transference and countertransference.

[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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