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Abstract

This article, conceptualized within a post-structuralist, feminist approach to art therapy, addresses the role of visual images as a controlling constituting discourse significant to the formation of the eating disorder anorexia nervosa. As a core position this article argues for a change in the way art work created within the art therapy process by women who suffer from anorexia nervosa is interpreted and analyzed by art therapists. The article argues for an enhanced appreciation and critical analysis of gendered, social-cultural contextualization of visual images and recognition of how these forces have a role in directing women to enact behaviors of self-starvation clinically defined as anorexia nervosa. In order to exemplify this shift to feminist interpretations of visual images by art therapists, a self-reflective methodology involving the reanalysis of one of my own published clinical examinations of the art of a patient diagnosed with anorexia nervosa was employed.

 

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