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Mosse, E.P. (1940). Painting-Analysis in the Treatment of Neuroses. Psychoanal. Rev., 27(1):65-82.

(1940). Psychoanalytic Review, 27(1):65-82

Painting-Analysis in the Treatment of Neuroses

Eric P. Mosse, M.D.

The many and different manifestations of the unconscious are the entrances through which psychotherapeutic treatment has a chance to influence the disturbed Ego. We have learned to look upon the psychodynamic background of these expressions with increasing understanding. We feel that every kind of unconscious expression is of a possible value not only as an outlet of emotions but a most important method for diagnostic as well as therapeutic use.

This science of expression has to start with the study of the average. The way somebody writes, moves his hands, walks and draws, his expressive movement, is more revealing for the problems, inhibitions, disturbances and the whole psychopathology of the patient than many hours of consciously controlled talking. The analysis of handwriting by M. Pulver, Klages and others is mostly concerned with the discovery of fixed character traits, and of the unconscious expression of an individual upon which he makes no comments. Drawing, however, especially the finger-paintings, is an unconscious manifestation to which the individual can give explanatory comments. There is a marked difference between this unconscious and conscious explanation of the individual and just this difference seems to enable the curative process. Such an examination of drawings of adults has been limited with a few exceptions, to the paintings of psychotics, especially of patients with schizophrenia but has never been done with neurotics. Before I go into the details of an investigation and perhaps a special method of treatment for neuroses. I would like to give a short survey of what has been done and written up to now about the drawings of mentally ill persons.

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