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Sorensen, P. (2016). Degrees of entrapment: living and dying in the claustrum. J. Child Psychother., 42(1):45-53.

(2016). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 42(1):45-53

Degrees of entrapment: living and dying in the claustrum

Pamela B. Sorensen

This paper explores Donald Meltzer’s concept of the claustrum, an unconscious phantasy of a space inside the body of the internal mother that has been forcibly entered and occupied. The author proposes that claustrophobic phenomena might be viewed on a continuum from the relatively ordinary to the severely pathological. Following a brief review of the characteristics of Meltzer’s claustral ‘compartments’, this continuum is explored through and illustrated by a psychoanalytic understanding of two films, Coraline, directed by Henry Selick and based on the novella by Neil Gaiman, and The Talented Mr. Ripley, based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith and directed by Anthony Minghella. The degree of entrapment in a claustrophobic world and the possibility of emerging from it into a world of authentic intimate relationships is shown to be influenced by the internal relationship to a parental couple.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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