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Friday 6 September 2013

Magical thinking

So I have just read a report where a 7 year old was diagnosed with "Magical Thinking".

I snorted.  Magical Thinking?  What on earth has Magical Thinking got to do with this case?

So I asked a doctor

"It is a recognised term to describe the linking of thoughts or behaviours where no rational link seems to exist."

So I looked it up:

"In clinical psychology, magical thinking can cause a patient to experience fear of performing certain acts or having certain thoughts because of an assumed correlation between doing so and threatening calamities. Magical thinking may lead people to believe that their thoughts by themselves can bring about effects in the world or that thinking something corresponds with doing it.[1] It is a type of causal reasoning or causal fallacy that looks for meaningful relationships of grouped phenomena between acts and events." (Wikipedia)

"Magical thinking comprises the belief that ‘one’s thoughts, words, or actions can achieve specific physical effects in a manner not governed by the principles of ordinary transmission of energy or information’ " (

(I did find this rather wonderful paper too, which made my morning.)

Ah right.  So a child that is below the 1st percentile for her age in terms of weight, has soldiers in her head telling her not to eat and has extreme difficulties eating anything, but especially fat, has no rational link and no clinical explanation that warrants investigation?

Of course.  Silly me.  Magical thinking is the obvious diagnosis.


  1. I hope the family are getting help from somewhere/someone else.

    Mind = blown (or is this magical thinking??)

  2. What year is this??? Seriously in 2013 this is what these great clinicians have come up with? We need so much education of our mental health and other health care workers about eating disorders. This is beyond wrong. Thank you for shining light on this travesty.