Date of Award

Spring 2011

Thesis Type

Rollins Access Only


Dr. Sharon L. Carnahan


Even Sigmund Freud surrendered to the mysteries of artistic creativity, in famously concluding that psychoanalysis must lay down its arms before the “problem” of the creative artist. Whether of divine blessing or divine madness, this problem continues to baffle—and fascinate. Drawing from the work of various psychological theorists—especially Chessick, Gedo, Niederland, and Oremland—this brief paper (100+ pages) overviews artistic creativity through multiple psychological forces and environmental factors. Depression, narcissism, object relations, and sublimation are discussed, drawing from theorists such as Charles, Gut, Kohut, and Lachmann, among others. The paper concludes that stable personality-structure and healthy ego-functioning are most conducive to consistent, productive, and effective artistic work. Artists profiled include film director Alfred Hitchcock, record producer Phil Spector, and recording artist Brian Wilson.