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Knafo, D. (2002). Revisiting Ernst Kris's Concept of Regression in the Service of the Ego in Art. Psychoanal. Psychol., 19(1):24-49.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 19(1):24-49

Revisiting Ernst Kris's Concept of Regression in the Service of the Ego in Art

Danielle Knafo, Ph.D.

This article attempts a critical reexamination of the usefulness of Ernst Kris's concept regression in the service of the ego. Although the term was initially welcomed and applied to many psychological and creative phenomena, it was later criticized and, eventually, disappeared in the literature. Regression in creativity is allotted a central place, and it is argued that one must depathologize the concept of regression as well as expand its terminology to reflect advances in object relations theory. Regression that takes place in artmaking, and in the aesthetic response to it, is compared with regression that takes place in psychoanalytic treatment.

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