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Wolf, A. Schwartz, E.K. (1964). Psychoanalysis in Groups as Creative Process. Am. J. Psychoanal., 24(1):46-57.

(1964). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 24(1):46-57

Psychoanalysis in Groups as Creative Process

Alexander Wolf, M.D. and Emanuel K. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Creativity is the will-o’-the-wisp of contemporary psychology. It is one of the most illusive of the human qualities.

For Freud it is the acme of desexualization requiring sublimation and flexibility in repression.1 For Wertheimer it is “the process of destroying one gestalt in favor of a better one.”2 For Kubie it is “the uncovering of new facts and of new relationships among both new and old data… imply[ing] invention3.” For Mansel it is a “change in the condition of that which already exists4.”

As we have discussed elsewhere, we believe, in agreement with Kubie, that creativity stems from healthy resources rather than from a sublimation of psychopathology. If the mentally disturbed are creative, they are so despite their pathology, which actually is a deterrant to creativity.

For us, creativity is associated with alternations in relaxation and concentration, dedication and quiescence, imagination and control, frustration and pleasure, consideration of the given and rebellion against it. It requires productivity and uniqueness, struggle and discrimination, originality and selectivity. It demands a commitment in time, for it takes time to produce. It necessitates inventiveness, determination, independence, individuality, enthusiasm, and industry. It requires good “intellect, complexity and richness of personality, general lack of defensiveness, and candor in self-description.” And it implies “an openness to experience and especially to experience of one's inner life,” “perceptivity” and “a clear preference for the complex and asymmetrical.”5 It involves a temporary suspension of judgment and sense perception for intuition.

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