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Weissman, P. (1967). Theoretical Considerations of Ego Regression and Ego Functions in Creativity. Psychoanal Q., 36:37-50.

(1967). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 36:37-50

Theoretical Considerations of Ego Regression and Ego Functions in Creativity

Philip Weissman, M.D.

Regression in the service of the ego has become an important criterion for differentiating creative from pathological psychic activity. But is this criterion an accurate or adequate estimation of the modus operandi of the ego in creative inspirations? I shall attempt to show that controlled regression in the service of the ego, as a theoretical and clinical formulation, has as many, if not more, limitations than other broad assessments of ego activity ascribed to other psychic states.

My contention is that controlled regression in the service of the ego should be replaced by more detailed statements on the specific ego functions. A more serious problem confronts us in the evaluation of the state of the ego and its function in the creative process. It is a presumptive assessment to state that a controlled regression in the service of the ego takes place during inspiration when we have not as yet specified which specific functions or what specific parts of the ego might be regressively involved. This study attempts to show that a dissociative or desynthesizing function, as I shall call it, along with the synthetic or integrative functions of the ego, constitute a more definitive approximation of nonregressive ego functioning in creativity.

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