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Psychoanalysis as an Art


There are times as psychoanalysts that the immersion in science begins to over-state the objective, deductive, projective and submissive adherence to the rules of conduct prescribed by the founders of our profession.  There are times when the clues to unblocking a resistance, comes to us not empirically, but wildly and subjectively.  It is at these times that I like to think about practicing the art of psychoanalysis.

Any science can be practiced artfully.  But psychoanalysis is greatly enhanced by useful, tasteful and invigorating creativity that allows for full use of both hemispheres of the brain.  Or to say it another way psychoanalysis is best taught when the design of the divided mind is recognized and encouraged as a foundation for an analysis or for a counseling therapy.

The knowledge that we acquire over time allows for the strictest rules of psychoanalysis to be an opportunity for challenging the status quo.  It is not as if we do not know that ideas and thoughts come from the strangest places.  Certainly, the concept of a primitive unconscious lining the bottom of our minds and the vision of an ego, shaped much like an egg, sitting in a pool of this primeval ooze with a strange out-growth on the top acting like an angry CEO of a large corporation, is in itself an artfully designed concept.

The metaphor of mind acting like a mapping of the brain is, once again, an artfully designed concept.  There is a flow to psychoanalysis that is calmly down-stream.  Let the patient express everything and the flow of progressive information tends to emerge in the order that it needs to be dealt with.  The artful expression of an analysis is it’s way of following a patient rather than leading the patient.  By allowing what is inherently inside to express itself, the semi-permeable boundaries of the mind open and widen permitting what is sacredly kept behind a curtain to emerge into the world as a new thought, a new idea.  This newness is the meat and potatoes of creativity.  Any new thought is by definition a synthesis of previously acquired knowledge and information.  Psychoanalysis promotes creativity by demonstrating to the patient that to know ones drive is the key to unleashing the energy of achievement.

Creativity and psychoanalysis go together like a horse and carriage.  The analyst needs to be creative to facilitate the creative drive in the patient.  Casting a wide net, the exploration of newness is pretty close to a characteristic of art, and very close to the process of an analysis.

Although creativity is an expression of drive, it is energy that is uniquely experienced in our minds. Our perception of what it feels like to be creatively expressive is a sensation that distinguishes this energy from other drive derivatives.  It is not exactly a third drive, but in many ways it does challenge, if not rival, the sexual and aggressive drives that conduct the living organism toward either an anabolistic or catabolistic direction.

Perhaps creativity is a fusion of the primary drives, somewhat of a hybrid, like when we mix red and blue.  The harnessing of the primary energy in the use of manifesting new materials, new thoughts, is key to the minds ability to create a self imposed reality that then expresses the uniqueness of our desires.  The spiritual foundation of drive theory is in the application of desire toward acquiring of what we want:  “Ask what ye will and it shall be done.”

In the process of assisting a patient toward the understanding that the divided mind is not a conflict, it is a reality of evolution; the patient can begin to get comfortable with the notion that a mind must be operated, not left to its own devices to conduct the organism.  Imagine, for a moment that you had no control over your hand.  The trouble in store could have some rather dire consequences.  The mind, like the hand, needs to be harness and used in furthering the goals of of the individual organism.  Use of our fused drives permits for a modicum of control that permits creativity to emerge.  The newness is a form of art, the art of psychoanalysis.


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