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Fossi, G. (1985). Psychoanalytic Theory and the Problem of Creativity. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 66:215-230.

(1985). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 66:215-230

Psychoanalytic Theory and the Problem of Creativity

Giordano Fossi


The current crisis of psychoanalysis also involves studies of various forms of creativity. After having pointed out the need for distinction between clinical-empirical theory and hypothetical theory (such as metapsychology) the author identifies and summarizes a number of trends of investigation as reported in our literature: libidinal-energetic, contenutistic (unconscious fantasies), anthropomorphic (of the ego), aggression-reparation, phenomenological, and object-relationship approaches. The role played by metapsychological concepts (the author, in agreement with those who consider them unacceptable, discusses some of the most well-known criticisms), and the confusion between theoretical levels are responsible for having made the psychoanalytical contribution entirely unsatisfactory at a higher explanatory level and for having hindered adequate reorganization of data of an empirical nature. After having examined several elements involved in creativity (symbolism, role of pathology and body experience, etc.), the author outlines a personal theoretical hypothesis of the structural type as a basis for the establishment of a clinical-empirical theory which, as regards research on creativity too, may constitute the chief field of investigation for psychoanalysis.

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