By Mary Levens

Individuals with consuming issues usually make desparate makes an attempt to exert magical keep watch over over their our bodies in line with the threats they skilled in relationships. Mary Levens takes the reader into the area of magical considering and its influence on rules approximately consuming and the physique via a delicate exploration of the pictures sufferers create in artwork remedy, during which subject matters of cannibalism continuously recur. Drawing on anthropology, faith and literature in addition to psychoanalysis, she discusses the importance of those photographs and their implications for therapy of sufferers with consuming issues.

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Extra resources for Eating Disorders and Magical Control of the Body: Treatment Through Art Therapy

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Food is therefore a body substance. ‘Being a body is tantamount to being a thing. ’ What is it about the increase of body mass that, for the anorectic, is equated with loss of self? This can be partially explained by recalling the patient’s problem with symbolization and separation. The anorectic does not feel merely that her growing body contains the bad 32 Magical control of the body object, rather she feels that she is the bad object. Very often selfportraits painted by such patients serve to make them aware of their confusion over whether they have depicted their own body or that of their mother.

Many bulimic patients are also aware that they may use other substances, such as alcohol or drugs, or indulge in behaviour such as self-mutilation, sex or even overwork to fill the gaps. Needing other people to fill up the spaces may feel like the only way in which the patient is able to define herself, in relation to others, when her very existence is in doubt. It is a form of co-dependency. Thus, the need to exert control over both internal and external space affords some measure of control over her identity.

Physical contact with the mother presents the infant with basic realities, such as an awareness of his/her own 36 Body boundaries in these patients capacity to take in or to reject the mother’s milk. This relationship forms the rudiments of the infant’s understanding of what occurs between two bodies. Since, at the start, the infant’s recognition of inside and outside and therefore of self and other is not fully established, it is understandable that the infant cannot accurately locate the provider of his/her bodily satisfactions.

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