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Grey, A. (1999). A Prothalamion to the Wedding of Inspiration and Perspiration: An Interpersonal View of Human Creativity. Contemp. Psychoanal., 35(3):437-472.

(1999). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 35(3):437-472

A Prothalamion to the Wedding of Inspiration and Perspiration: An Interpersonal View of Human Creativity

Alan Grey, Ph.D.

ALTHOUGH THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN APPALLED at the very idea, Henry Ford and Sigmund Freud had more in common than the mere assonance of their names. It is that both chose standardization as the best strategy for the industries they created. In the heyday of the Model T, it was said that you could get a Ford in any color you wanted, as long as it was black. Similarly, analytic patients were free to aspire to whatever they wished, as long as it was at the stage of orgasmic genitality. A serious look into the historical record indicates that in its “classical” phase, the emphasis on standardized treatment procedures was more than a joke. Analysts were held to the so-called rule of neutrality, intended to exclude participation in the patient's experience. The only interventions permitted were carefully timed, laconic interpretations, and these statements were to be addressed to childhood instinctual strivings.

As for patients, their efforts were to be confined to following the “basic rule” of free association. As Fenichel (1945) explained, “the desired effect is more lastingly and efficaciously obtained the more the analyst succeeds in using no other means of eliminating resistances than the confronting of the patient's reasonable ego with the fact of his resistance and the history of its origin” (p. 571). The intention was to exclude “the purposive effects of the ego” (p. 570). These invariant procedures were quite consistent with the belief that emotional disorders arise from disruptions in a linear human developmental path that is set endogenously and driven by two animal instincts.

Starting from their distinctly different premises, interpersonal contemporaries of Fenichel could not seriously believe that procedures so uniform for all would be adequate to the therapeutic task.

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