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Creativity, self creation, and the treatment of mental illness
  1. A Rothenberg
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor Albert Rothenberg MD
 Harvard University, Box 1001, Canaan, NY 12029, USA; albert_rothenberg{at}


This paper examines how an understanding of systematic findings about creative processes involved in art, literature, and science can be applied to the effective treatment of mental illness. These findings and applications are illustrated by particular reference to the work of the poet Sylvia Plath and the treatment of a patient who aspired to become a writer.

  • self creation
  • creativity
  • psychotherapy
  • destructiveness
  • suicide
  • Sylvia Plath

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  • iAn alternate view holds that Sylvia Plath herself was a model of feminine consciousness. From a psychiatric perspective, it seems more likely that she could not, as feminists today correctly advocate, assert her own self worth and independence as a woman. Instead of her probable constant feelings of weakness and inadequacy, such self acceptance might have saved her life.