Scientific journal

New Psychological Research

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Fedunina N.Yu. Book review. Jeanne Magagna «A Psychotherapeutic Understanding of Eating Disorders in Children and Young People: Ways to Release the Imprisoned Self». Routledge, 2021

Natalia Yu. Fedunina, Ph.D (Psychology), Center for sports technologies and training of sports teams of Moskomsport, Moscow, Russia; bld. 6, Sovetskaya Armii str., Moscow, Russia, 129272; Natalia_fedunina@mail.ru

The recent book of Jeanne Magagna «A Psychotherapeutic Understanding of Eating Disorders in Children and Young People: Ways to Release the Imprisoned Self» (2021) is being reviewed in the article. The review introduces the reader to the specific psychoanalytic approach to the treatment of severe eating disorders and understanding of anorexia, suicidal states of mind, pervasive retreat from life and other extreme psychic states. The approach is based on the hypothesis that refusing to eat means not just refusing to open one’s mouth to swallow food, but also closing one’s mind to the overwhelming emotional experiences of yourself and others. Jeanne Magagna considers eating disorders in connection with profound disorders in the early development of an infant. Young people with eating disorders tend to try omnipotently to avoid their infantile profound emotions, which are part of the human experience of relationships. The omnipotent destructive part of the personality, offering itself as a defender, attacks the dependent and loving ties. This omnipotent destructive part has a hypnotizing effect on the dependent self, and also hinders the therapist’s attempts to convey acceptance and understanding. The fear of being fat and having too much food inside symbolizes the fear of being overwhelmed with infantile emotions without proper inner parents who could take care of these emotional experiences. Thus, rejection of food goes along with the rejection of intimacy. Therapy can be perceived as a threat to the omnipotent structure that controls the consumption of food, as well as the experience and expression of feelings

Key words: Jeanne Magagna, eating disorder, psychoanalysis, infant observation

For citation: Fedunina, N.Yu. (2022). Book review. Jeanne Magagna «A Psychotherapeutic Understanding of Eating Disorders in Children and Young People: Ways to Release the Imprisoned Self». Routledge, 2021. New Psychological Research, No. 2, 149–156. DOI: 10.51217/npsyresearch_2022_02_02_09

keywords: Jeanne Magagna, eating disorder, psychoanalysis, infant observation

received 18 June 2022

published 18 June 2022

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