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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.


Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.

Black Swan film, control and suppressed adult sexuality

For Nina, the obsessed ballerina of the Black Swan, to get help in establishing her healthy process of development she would have to:

  1. Acknowledge she needs help and reach for it.
  2. Enter into solid eating disorder recovery treatment with a psychotherapist and a team of specialists.
  3. Most likely, in patient would be necessary to create a new and more healthy environment around her. That would mean leaving the ballet, at least for a considerable period of time, and changing her way of life.
  4. She’d need to continue treatment in ongoing psychotherapy with a clinician who had expertise in the field of eating disorders, psychological development and creativity.
  5. She'd need to learn to live a balanced life that honored her mind, body and soul in aspects of friendships, family, career, education, play, spirituality, creativity, community, health, travel, sexuality and learning from mentors.
  6. She’d need to gain a healthy and realistic attitude toward recognition and fame for herself and other people.
  7. She would have to eat enough to nourish her brain.
  8. She’d need to want healing and recovery enough to commit to her healing path.
  9. She'd need to create life changes so that she spent as much time as possible in an environment that supported her physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual health.

In the film, Nina’s obsessive focus on being perfect, as she defines perfection, at all costs wipes out her considering healing possibilities that would threaten her way of life. She would fight against any such threat with all the power she could rally.

Reader Thought Questions

  • Can you see the character of Nina going through recovery work?
  • Can you see anyone in her life encouraging her to do this recovery work?
  • What would it mean for her if she did seek recovery?
  • What would it mean for the people in her life?
  • How might she begin?
  • And most importantly, what parts of her life can you relate to?

Nina is a character in a story. You are real. Natalie Portman is an actress and has moved on to another role. Nina is an image on film. You remain in your life.

Are there lessons and insights you can draw from Black Swan to help you move more fully into your own recovery?

Black Swan: Beautiful Public Appearance and Ugly Secret Body Destruction (1-8)

Black Swan: Narrow Life Obsession (2-8)

Black Swan: Mother/Daughter Control Issues and Sexuality (3-8)

Black Swan: Stealing (4-8)

Black Swan: Violence and Danger (5-8)

Black Swan: Danger to Others (6-8)

Black Swan: End of the Film and Beyond (7-8)

Black Swan: Is Help Possible for Nina? (8-8)

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Written by Joanna Poppink, MFT. Joanna is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery, stress, PTSD, and adult development.

She is licensed in CA, AZ, OR, FL, and UT. Author of the Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder

Appointments are virtual.

For a free telephone consultation, e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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