“Pro-anorexia” has emerged as a dramatic development in cyberspace, drawing participants to Internet sites that take a partially positive attitude towards anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders. From an outsider’s perspective, pro-ana forums confront visitors with what has been characterized as “the
spectacle of not eating” — words and images conveying startling emaciation and suffering. The harmful effects of pro-ana participation have been documented. Recent research, however, takes a nuanced point-of-view, arguing that pro-ana participation has benefits, including social support, a way to cope with a stigmatized illness, and a means of self-expression. This meeting will generate thinking about how online experience does and does not facilitate psychic growth. The author will suggest that, at best, pro-ana forums serve as a form of potential space for participants, shielding them from the experience of alienation while allowing for creative play with relational connection, identity, ambivalence, and recovery.
- Recognize the benefits, social support and self-expression, of participation in pro-ana internet forums for patients with anorexia nervosa and eating disorders.
- Utilize the concept of potential space to patients’ use of pro-ana internet forums.
- Recognize how pro-ana internet forums shield patients’ with anorexia nervosa and eating disorders from the experience of alienation by allowing for creative play with relational connection, identity, ambivalence, and recovery.
All mental health professionals, including MFT, LCSW, PhD, PsyD, psychiatric nurses, and graduate level students in psychology. This is an introductory to intermediate level course.
No refunds for this event.