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The Pull to fusion: an exploration of observed links between autism and hoarding

Neame, Helen (2019) The Pull to fusion: an exploration of observed links between autism and hoarding. Other thesis, University of Essex.

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This study is a contribution to using a psychoanalytic understanding to elucidate hoarding behaviours. My thesis explores whether ideas relevant to autism can be used to explain extreme hoarding. The existing psychoanalytic understandings of the autistic manoeuvres are applied to data from a TV program on hoarding. This thesis has mainly used Tustin’s approach to autism based on Kleinian theories of primary envy, of the infant’s most primitive anxieties and of the symbolisation process. It is here argued that the very early trauma, understood by psychoanalytic writers to be linked to unbearable experiences of separateness, appears to also reside at the core of hoarding behaviours. The extreme hoarding observed would denote the existence of an ‘autistic retreat’ or ‘cyst’ (as described by Key writers such as Sydney Klein and Judith Mitrani), protecting the individual from unbearable fears of pain and disintegration (as described by key writers such as Sydney Klein and Mitrani). Clinical features of autism, were operationalised and used to examine the data from the TV program for these features. This was a single case study, my approach being largely subjective, exploring how a clinical eye could be used to bring insight and meaning to the phenomena observed. Each of the two processes, autism and hoarding shed light on each other. This furthers our understanding of traumatic experiences of loss and of the symbolisation process.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Uncontrolled Keywords: autism, hoarding, primaray envy, symbolisation
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Helen Neame
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2019 12:09
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2020 12:59

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