An exploration of the psychotherapeutic dynamic in the role of loss in creative expression, melancholia and depression.

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Huggard, Paul
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Higher Diploma
Dublin Business School
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The melancholia and depression that follows loss can often be an enthusiastic bedfellow to creativity. In this dissertation the author attempts to uncover the link between the melancholia and depression resulting from the loss of the object, following the Oedipal separation, and ensuing creative expression. This creative expression involves an attempt to recreate the lost object through the medium of free association, in the guises of symbolization and language. The dissertation considers the theories of Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein and Julia Kristeva in relation to this subject. It explores Freud’s examination of the role played by the lost object in melancholia, as opposed to mourning which is considered a more natural and healthier reaction to the loss of the object. Klein’s main focus is on the subject’s attempts to recover the lost object through the imaginative use of symbolization and language. Kristeva also relates the importance of memory, imagination and symbolic language to art in an attempt to fill the empty space left by the lost object, as a way of coping with the grief and melancholia that can result. All three emphasise the psychotherapeutic alliance as a way of creating a potential space for the client to freely express their creative side, therefore giving them the opportunity of recovery.