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Kahn, C. (2009). The Analyst's Creativity During the Treatment Process,. Psychoanal. Rev., 96(1):21-34.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Review, 96(1):21-34

The Analyst's Creativity During the Treatment Process1,2

Charlotte Kahn, ED.D.


I approach the subject of creativity with much awe and, I must confess, with a degree of envy, because while I have some talent for practical, sometimes novel applications, I am sorely limited in the capacity to generate truly unique ideas—not to speak of artistic productions. Let me clarify the distinction between talent and creativity: By talent I mean the potential for developing a special ability. Creativity, on the other hand, generates; it originates. It is “the ability to come up with ideas or artifacts that are new, surprising and valuable” (Boden, 2004, p. 1), often by displacing a relation from one idea to another idea and thereby generating a further “correlative” idea which might be novel (Spearman, 1931, pp. 24-28). Creativity “refers to a particular kind of productivity, namely, that which is both original and integrative in nature. Creativity … is heightened by innate perceptual sensitivities and the ability to synthesize sense data into Gestalten.… [Fortunately] creativity is possible … in any field of endeavor” (Kahn & Piorkowski, 1974, p. 233). Regarding the perceptual sensitivities, Greenacre (1957) asserts that “early sensory oversensitivity together with greater reactivity to rhythm and gestalt relationships of form would bring … a wider range of awareness … [and] form the anlage for the development of a greater richness of capacity for symbolization” (p. 65).


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