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Townsend, P. (2015). Creativity and Destructiveness in Art and Psychoanalysis. Brit. J. Psychother., 31(1):120-131.

(2015). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31(1):120-131

Creativity and Destructiveness in Art and Psychoanalysis

Patricia Townsend

This paper focuses on the creativity of the patient in analysis and compares it to that of the artist. Taking artists' descriptions of their practices as its starting point, the paper suggests that the relationship between patient and analyst parallels that between artist and medium. Psychoanalysis and artistic process can both be seen in terms of a complex interplay between oneness and separateness in which aggression and destructiveness play an essential part. The paper includes a discussion of different forms of aggression and destructiveness within the creative process with particular reference to Winnicott's paper ‘The use of an object(1969) and Rozsika Parker's ‘Killing the angel in the house’ (1998). It suggests that a consideration of artists' creative processes can shed light both on the experience of the patient in analysis and on the role of the analyst in facilitating the development of the patient's creativity.

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