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Miller, D. (1974). Psychotherapy and Creativity in Adolescents—Some Technical Considerations. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 2(4):291-308.

(1974). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 2(4):291-308

Psychotherapy and Creativity in Adolescents—Some Technical Considerations

Derek Miller


Creativity may be looked at in two ways. On one hand, in the sense that it implies the freedom to use inner resources, it is a basic source of genius, imagination and talent. On the other, it is also a special entity in itself and this concept presupposes artistic worth. Insofar as it represents inner freedom, to be creative belongs to being alive. Everyday creativity thus makes life worth living and colors an individual's attitude to external reality (Winnicott 1971). Thus creativity, as it should belong to everyone, is related to feeling that life is meaningful and it is safe to explore. This is evident from watching the tentative excitement of a baby as it explores a mother's mouth and face.

For many people the inner freedom, which allows emotional and cognitive problem solving, is environmentally destroyed; for others the freedom is present, but the capacity to be demonstrably creative and imaginative at any time depends on an individual's psychological and maturational age. Thus the ability to show one's imaginativeness to others suffers from particular inhibition during puberty. An internal capacity may be present, an early adolescent may be well able to daydream often in a rich and colorful way, but such a young person does not normatively seem able to communicate such fantasies to others.

Creative expression may show in a variety of ways; for example the relationship of creativity to play is clear. This is particularly demonstrable in the quality of children's games in both street and playground (Opie 1969). Creative expression may be used to restore psychological homeostasis.

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