On the Edge of the World: Trauma and Twinship Self-object Needs in Mrs. Dalloway

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Peter Buirski

Second Advisor

Fernand Lubuguin

Third Advisor

Lee Hockman


Self psychology, Qualitative research, Assessment, Twinship, Alienation, Intersubjectivity theory, Combat veterans, Trauma, Mrs. Dalloway, Fiction, World War I


Alienation and aloneness appear as common themes in the experience of those impacted by trauma. Self psychology theorists, including contemporary proponents of intersubjectivity theory, have also discussed the ways in which alienation and disconnection from others permeate the experience of post-traumatic stress disorder. This discussion has highlighted the importance and centrality of twinship selfobject needs in providing a relational home for the emotional pain associated with trauma. These phenomena are especially apparent when one encounters the experiences of those combat veterans who have attempted to readjust to society upon returning home from military service. Using self psychology and intersubjectivity theory, this paper explores the ways that fiction, specifically Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, can illuminate the ways that trauma negatively impacts twinship selfobject needs in combat veterans. In examining the character of Septimus Smith, this paper illustrates the estrangement, singularity, and alienation associated with post-traumatic stress, and how this state of being can collude with societal misunderstanding and repression to shatter the self's sense of belongingness with and connection to others.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


46 pages

This document is currently not available here.