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The absence of a mother in early childhood : can the child ever be truly satisfied?

posted on 21.02.2017, 22:59 by Thompson, Rebecca
This thesis aimed to consider whether there was a connection between binge eating in latency aged children and an unavailable early primary object. Psychoanalytic literature wasexamined and revealed that while there are a range of views about the psychologicalreasons for binge eating, the search revealed that there is an Object Relations perspectivethat outlines a connection between the two. Clinical cases of psychoanalytic psychotherapywith children who present with binge eating behaviour (but have not been diagnosed withbulimia or anorexia and bulimia) were examined to determine if a connection betweenbinge eating and an unavailable primary object existed. The cases were drawn from the psychoanalytic literature and from the writer's own practice. The examination was done byfirst considering the history of those psychotherapy patients and then examining the clinicalmaterial. Because there was a dearth of cases of latency aged children that fitted thisdescription, the search for clinical cases was extended to older children and adults and those with binge eating behaviours where there was also a diagnosis of bulimia and anorexia and bulimia. The results of the examination of the clinical material also revealed a link between binge eating and an unavailable primary object.


Principal supervisor

Rosalie Birkin

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Clinical Sciences at Monash Health Psychiatry

Campus location



Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences