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Miller, J. (2007). Owning It. Am. J. Psychoanal., 67(4):386-396.

(2007). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 67(4):386-396

Owning It

Joel Miller, M.D., Psy.D.

What is the distinction, if any, between who we are as people and what we believe and how we practice as psychoanalysts? For me, art played a vital affirmation that there was a world full of larger ideas and feelings in contrast to the desiccated environment my parents had created. From grade school, through my training as an analyst to the present, art has not only elucidated who I am but expanded my sense of being a creative individual. From the procession of viewing art and engaging with it, to making and acquiring art pieces, the discovery was not only that I owned these pieces but that their impact challenged the ‘who’ I thought I was if I was willing to own up to it. The information that informs our personal beliefs and practice in psychoanalysis comes from such an openness to new experiences from many directions in our daily lives, and challenges who we believe we are. Art adds to analytic knowledge, not by giving us an interpretation for our lives, but by stimulating the genuinely creative process of self-reflection.

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