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Wittenberg, R. (1980). Aspects of the Creative Process in Music: A Case Report. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 28:439-459.

(1980). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 28:439-459

Aspects of the Creative Process in Music: A Case Report

Rudolph Wittenberg, Ph.D.


A gifted patient, hampered by his ambivalent strivings, began to write music during his analysis and became a professional composer. I have attempted to show a parallel between the analytic and the creative process. Both in his use of dreams and his particular style of free association, the original idea appeared in fully developed form, marked by key themes. As his ambivalent strivings were analyzed, his narcissistic libido was used less and less as a substitute for ego-strivings, but, instead, as countercathexis. With the freeing of ego functioning, the patient appeared to concentrate on working through, which parallels the development section in music and seems to contain one of the significant aspects of the creative process.

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