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Zierer, E. (1952). The Total Personality in Creative Therapy. Am. Imago, 9(2):197-209.

(1952). American Imago, 9(2):197-209

The Total Personality in Creative Therapy

Ernest Zierer, Ph.D.

Diagnosis and therapy are intrinsically interwoven in Creative Therapy since both are based on the premise of the personality as a totality. Fenichel's (1) words apply to Creative Therapy “it attempts more than mere description. It explains mental phenomena as the result of the interaction and counteraction of forces, that is in a dynamic way”.

Creativeness is conceived of as the integrative capacity of the ego (2) as expressed through the medium of art. Art activity is postulated as the direct expression of the conscious, the preconscious and the unconscious. In this paper the total personality will be approached by way of the unconscious drives as manifested directly and immediately in painting.

Creative Therapy uses a non-associative or non-ideational approach and utilizes painting activity literally as a nonverbal mode of expression of all levels of the personality. Since associations are not encouraged and interpretations are not given, the subject matter (content and form) is, in this sense neglected. However, beyond content and form (and thereby including it) a painting is also the immediate expression of the individual's instinctual drive.

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