A review of Creative Analysis: Art, Creativity and Clinical Process: by George Hagman. New York, NY: Routledge, 2015. 144 pp.
Ingrid M. Geerken, Ph.D.
In this slim yet ambitious volume, George Hagman proposes a definition of art and artistic creativity in order to engage in a “rigorous investigation of Psychoanalysis as an art form” (p. x). In Creative Analysis, Hagman argues that “through the creative process of analysis the subjectivity of the patient is articulated, changed, improved and perhaps even perfected. This is the essence of art. This is what psychoanalytic art is” (p. 23).
Hagman, a psychoanalyst and social worker, has written extensively from the viewpoint of self psychology on creativity (Hagman, 2000), on the aesthetic experiences of beauty, ugliness, and the sublime (Hagman, 2006), and applying the analytic lens to modern artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol (Hagman, 2010). Hagman, wanting to “cross-fertilize our profession with the creative arts” (p. 74), also coauthors a chapter of his book with Carol M. Press, a choreographer, dancer, and scholar. According to Hagman, “[t]he function of the analytic process is the elaboration, refinement and development of the analysand with the creative work on this third as the active agent of change” (p. 23). In Hagman's formulation, the “third” is the transference–countertransference relationship that coalesces in treatment as an artwork (p. 23).
In the first chapter, Hagman offers a concise survey of psychoanalytic approaches to art, moving swiftly from Freud (1908/1959, 1910/1957), to the ego psychologists (Kris, 1952; Sachs, 1942), through object relations theorists Melanie Klein (1929, 1930) and Hanna Segal (1952, 1957).
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