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Rycroft, C. (1960). Neurotic Distortion of the Creative Process: By Lawrence S. Kubie, M.D. (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1958. Pp. 151. $3.00.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:81-82.

(1960). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 41:81-82

Neurotic Distortion of the Creative Process: By Lawrence S. Kubie, M.D. (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1958. Pp. 151. $3.00.)

Review by:
Charles Rycroft

In this book, which is based on a series of lectures given at the University of Kansas, Professor Kubie presents his views on the nature of creative thinking.

Of recent years psycho-analysts have become increasingly interested in the concept of creativity without, it must be admitted, its always being clear to what phenomenon or function the concept is intended to refer. For Kubie it is essentially a matter of invention and selection. In his view creativity is the capacity to reshuffle ideas into novel combinations and then select those which are significant, in the sense of being scientifically valid or artistically communicable. His main thesis is that this capacity is a function of the 'preconscious system' which operates creatively except in so far as it is prevented from doing so by interference from either conscious or repressed unconscious processes. Conscious mental processes interfere with creativity by reason of the limitation of imaginative activity imposed by verbal thinking, while unconscious mental processes distort creativity by disrupting the connexion of symbols with the objects of external reality which they represent. The creative person is not, as many analysts hold, someone who has a special form of access to unconscious phantasy or some particular constellation of psychodynamic forces, but quite simply someone whose preconscious 'prelogical' processes operate relatively undisturbed either by neurotic distortion or intellectual inhibition.

It follows from this that in Kubie's view creativity is not the prerogative of a select but suffering minority, but is a potentiality common to all men, one which they can realize in so far as they can be freed from the restrictions and distortions imposed by neurosis.

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