The Public Interest

Psychology, Ideology, and the Search for Faith

Joseph Adelson

Winter 1977

EARLY in my career I lived in a small community, many of whose members were intellectuals or artists. I had just begun my own psychoanalysis, and since misery loves company I became an enthusiastic proselytizer, much given to attempts at persuading my colleagues to try it. It will do wonders for you, I said shamelessly.  They were interested, even tantalized-psychoanalysis was then just on the verge of becoming fashionable-and yet they held back, for two reasons. First, it was thought that psychoanalysis might damage creativity. This was a time when the link between art and neurosis was the subject of much discussion in intellectual circleswitness Lionel Trilling’s celebrated essay, or Edmund Wilsons The Wound and the Bow. To this I would reply that there was no evidence supporting the notion and that, to the contrary, psychotherapy more often unchained the talents constricted by neurosis.  I would make precisely the same argument today, and with even greater confidence.

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