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Parsons, M. (1990). Marion Milner's 'Answering Activity' and the Question of Psychoanalytic Creativity. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 17:413-424.

(1990). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 17:413-424

Marion Milner's 'Answering Activity' and the Question of Psychoanalytic Creativity

Michael Parsons


This paper was written in honour of Marion Milner's 90th birthday. It traces the development, in her three autobiographical books, A Life of One's Own, An Experiment in Leisure and Eternity's Sunrise, of the idea of an 'Answering Activity': the experience of an inner being, both part of oneself and greater than oneself, with which one can make contact through a particular kind of meditative awareness. I also explore the tension between technique and creativity in psychoanalysis and show how they must be kept in equilibrium without sacrificing either one. Milner's account of the 'Answering Activity' can help us towards the theory of psychoanalytic creativity which this requires.

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