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Loew, C. (2019). Private Lives: Introduction. Psychoanal. Perspect., 16(2):222.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 16(2):222

Private Lives

Private Lives: Introduction

Clemens Loew, Ph.D.

In “The Rehab Diet,” Fiona Lane describes her complicated inner struggle to heal from a serious eating disorder. In her story, we find her at a facility that provides help to adolescent girls and women who suffer from bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating. Fiona’s experience may come as a surprise. The physical place is both beautiful and welcoming, offering a resort-like setting in the countryside with inviting hotel amenities, meeting rooms, and art rooms. Yet in sharp contrast to the bucolic surrounding, her inner emotional life is in turmoil. This experience is meticulously and humorously described by Fiona. Her macabre experience feels tortuous, authoritarian, and deprived of individuality and freedom.

One in every 200 women suffer from anorexia: a refusal to eat, a fear of gaining weight, a distorted body image, a pressure to be thin. About 5% die of complications over a 10-year period. It’s a serious Western world phenomenon.

Fiona depicts a valiant and committed struggle to heal herself. She describes to the reader the intimate details of eating in the community lunch room as she empathically observes the turmoil of eating disorders and endures rigorous and seemingly bizarre rules. She courageously reveals herself, and thus allows us to empathize with her internal struggle for self-restoration. In the end, she fights the desire to escape this healing, comfortable, and restrictive “boot camp” in her determination to become healthy.

[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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