Canvas of Change: Analysis Through the Prism of Creativity

Author(s) : Ilany Kogan

Canvas of Change: Analysis Through the Prism of Creativity

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This book presents a detailed account of two analytic case studies examined through the particular viewpoint of creativity.

The first part of the book contains a review of the classical and contemporary literature on the source and function of creativity. Creativity is then examined from the perspective of several analytic models – Freudian, Kleinian, and post-Kleinian.

The second and third parts of the book present case illustrations that deal with the use of creative activity in analysis. The creative use of biblical stories in the case of David, or the use of paintings and poems in the case of Rachel, portrayed the inner reality of these patients. David’s violent and incestuous biblical stories reflected his world of incestuous and destructive wishes towards his primary objects (and towards the therapist in the transference). Rachel’s paintings and poems conveyed her unconscious conflicts, depressive fantasies and anxieties, stemming from her fusion with her mother who was a child Holocaust survivor. Working through their relationships with their primary objects and their self perception, as revealed by these creative activities in analysis, facilitated the patients’ mourning. The work of mourning incurred in this process helped both David and Rachel achieve a better perception of reality and of their self, unite the fragmented aspects of the self into a whole, and improve their relationships with their primary objects.

The book concludes with the therapist’s role in facilitating the creative process, which in turn facilitates the therapeutic process. It contains a summary of the role of creative activity in treatment, a discussion of some of the ways in which the therapist facilitated the creative process in order to arrive at the amazing discoveries which it engenders, and a discussion of the way in which the patients’ creativity was successfully incorporated in their treatment.

The therapist’s awareness of the patients’ creativity and its important role in solving the patients’ conflicting life and death wishes enabled her to help them recognize their aggressive and destructive wishes and work them through. Both patients emerged from a long analysis better integrated.

Reviews and Endorsements

'Ilany Kogan's book is an act of creativity in itself. Not only does this highly original work make an important contribution to our understanding of creativity, but also, by demonstrating in step by step fashion how creative activity in her patients augmented and enhanced the healing power of psychoanalysis, Dr Kogan has broken new ground.
This landmark book is essential reading for anyone engaged in psychotherapeutic work.'
- Theodore Jacobs, MD, training and supervising analyst at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine

'A rich and complex study in which the author explores the nature of artistic creativity and how different forms of expression can enrich and inform psychoanalytic understanding and treatment. In one case, she describes in detail how the patient's use of biblical stories illuminated his psychopathology. In another, she shows how poems and artistic productions allowed for a much deeper exploration and working through of the traumatic events in the patient's history. Thus, in a fascinating and scholarly way, the author shows not only how her psychoanalytical perspective can further her understanding of the patient's creativity, but also how this creativity can, in turn, contribute to the therapeutic process, and greater integration in the patient's personality.'
- Michael Feldman, Training Analyst, British Psychoanalytical Society

'This is a beautiful and useful book; a distillation and elaboration of the work of many years. Ilany Kogan writes about her new understandings on creativity and the creative process in psychoanalysis. She enables the analysand to experience and to contain "that roar on the other side of silence" (George Eliot). Masterful in her clinical work, she helps us come to grips with an intimacy and with a depth that is rare to achieve. We owe a great debt to Ilany Kogan and her courageous patients for sharing a journey that we all can learn from.'
- Monica Horovitz, PhD, Paris Psychoanalytical Society

About the Author(s)

Ilany Kogan is a training analyst at the Israel Psychoanalytic Society. She functioned as Clinical Supervisor at the Department of Children and Adolescents, Eppendorf University Hospital, Hamburg, Germany, and of candidates and members of MAP, Munich, Germany and Aachen, Germany, Supervisor of the Psychotherapy Centre for the Child and Adolescent, Bucharest, Romania, Teacher and supervisor at the IPA Psychoanalytic Group, Istanbul, Turkey. She has also worked as a supervisor in various places in Germany, especially in Munich and Aachen, where she continues to this day, and at the Generatia Centre in Bucharest, Romania, and the IPA Study Group, Istanbul, Turkey. For many years, she worked with Holocaust survivors' offspring, and published extensively on this topic. She was awarded the Elise M. Hayman Award for the study of the Holocaust and Genocide, and is the author of The Cry of Mute Children, Escape from Selfhood and The Struggle Against Mourning. She received the Sigourney Award, honouring achievements for the advancement of psychoanalysis in 2016.

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