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Tolliday, H. (2013). The Mother, the Psychoanalyst, the Poet and the Artist: Containment and Growth of the Mind. Brit. J. Psychother., 29(2):217-229.

(2013). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 29(2):217-229

Unconscious Experience

The Mother, the Psychoanalyst, the Poet and the Artist: Containment and Growth of the Mind

Heather Tolliday

This paper considers the difficulties which humans have in using and developing their capacity for thought. Growth of the human mind, through attunement of the mother's unconscious experience with the infant's, is explored along with the distortions which arise because of aversion to uncertainty and suffering. It then looks at psychoanalysis and the verbal and visual arts in the light of the maternal function, and the way in which they also promote the growth of the mind. Four products of the human mind - an excerpt from an infant observation published in 1998, some post-Kleinian psychoanalytic clinical case material from the 1980s, John Keats's 19th century Ode to a Nightingale and Lucas Cranach's 1526 painting, Adam and Eve - are used to illustrate some of the similarities and differences among them in giving conscious form to the unconscious.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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