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Event Details

Institute of CFS

Life Inside the Claustrum

One Session Progam (1.5 Contact Hours)

Presenters: Susan Finkelstein, LCSW and Dr. Jamieson Webster
Date: Friday, March 19, 2021
Location: Online via Zoom
Time: 12:00-1:30pm EST

As we are all feeling claustro-agoraphobic in lockdown, perhaps a return to these classic themes will give new meaning to the palpable and primitive anxieties at the threat of having to emerge from the claustrum. In this talk, Susan Finkelstein will present the history of thinking related to claustrophobia, the maternal claustrum, fears of invading the mother’s body/being invaded by the mother, and subsequent sexual phobias.

“The phallic phase leads the child into a maze of ‘claustrum’ fantasies, in which some children…get hopelessly lost. They want to touch, enter and know the secrets of all interiors but are frightened of dark rooms and dream of jails and tombs” (Homburger, (1937). Psycho. Quarterly, pp. 171-172).

The presentation will conclude by discussing the 1942 Jacques Tourneau film Cat People, as well as an analytic case presented by Jamieson Webster where an intensification of claustro-agoraphobic anxieties surge during the resumption of in-person treatment, dreams by the patient showing themes around the dread of intercourse and fears of contamination, infection and the genocide of babies.

Registrants are encouraged to view the horror film Cat People (1942), directed by Jacques Tourneur. This psychological horror film (1 hour 13 minute) is available on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video.

Susan N. Finkelstein, LCSW, is a Training and Supervising analyst at the Contemporary Freudian Society and Fellow at IPTAR. She developed Understanding Primitive Mental States, a study group where she teaches The Internal World and Its Objects, The Claustro-agoraphobic Dilemma, Clinical Klein, Bion and Beckett: The Not-I Patient.  At the APsaA she co-chairs an annual winter discussion group with Nasir Ilahi on Schizoid Modes-Spatial Time Continuum. She is in private practice in NYC in psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, couples therapy and clinical supervision.  She is an associate editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis.

Dr. Jamieson Webster is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City. She is the author of The Life and Death of Psychoanalysis (2011) and Conversion Disorder: Listening to the Body in Psychoanalysis (2018); she also co-wrote, with Simon Critchley, Stay, Illusion! The Hamlet Doctrine (2013). She has written for ArtForum, The Guardian, Playgirl, Spike Art Quarterly The New York Review of Books, and The New York Times. She teaches at the New School for Social Research and supervises doctoral students in clinical psychology at the City University of New York. She is a member of IPTAR and Das Unbehagen.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this seminar participants will be able to:

1) Define bodily spatial dimensions in claustrophobia.

2) List 3 features of paranoid anxieties of entrapment inside the claustrum.

3) Explain the defense and phantasy of projective identification and its relationship to claustrophobia.

Who Should Attend: ​The instructional level of this activity is advanced.  Mental Health Professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, e.g. LPs, LCATs, and pastoral counselors); those with an interest in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic thinking and clinical applications; and social scientists with an interest in the intersection of sociology and psychoanalysis.

Continuing Education Credits:

NY Social Workers: The PTI-CFS is recognized by the NYS Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0087

NY Psychoanalysts: The PTI-CFS is recognized by the NYS Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychoanalysts #P-0021.

NY Licensed Psychologists: The PTI-CFS is recognized by the NYS Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provide of continuing education for Licensed Psychologists #PSY-0017.

DC, MD and VA Psychologists: The CFS is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  The CFS maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

DC, MD and VA Social Workers: The Social Work Boards of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia will grant continuing education credits to social workers attending a program offered by an APA authorized sponsor.

CE credits will only be granted to participants with documented attendance of the entire program and completed online evaluation form.  No partial credit will be offered.  It is the responsibility of the participants seeking CE credits to comply with these requirements.  Upon completion of this program and online evaluation form, participants will be granted 1.5 CE credits.

Important Disclosure Information:

None of the planners and presenters of this program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.


CFS Members $40
Non-CFS Members $50
Candidates and Students with Valid ID $25
No Refunds, unless in the case of a medical emergency.
For further information regarding this course, please contact Connie Stroboulis at or 732-446-4867.
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