- The purpose of this study is to explicate Otto Rank's constructive psychotherapy. Rank's approach is examined in terms of the philosophical presuppositions that ground it, the psychological theory that guides it, and the phenomenological experience it makes possible. Three themes in Rank's thought are explored: the microcosm and the macrocosm, the negative and limitation, and the artist and creative possibility., Rank's constructive emphasis on the present therapeutic moment as a microcosm is juxtaposed to Freud's psychoanalytic interest in the transference as repetition of the past. Rank's acausal thought is seen as an alternative to deterministic and fatalistic trends in Freud's thought. Rank's criticism of psychoanalysis for confounding theory and therapy and for failing to adopt a factual relativistic stance is also discussed., The phenomenon of resistance in psychotherapy is explored in relation to the concept of will. Rank's understanding of the emergence of will from early prohibitions and his belief that consciousness is an instrument of will are compared with Freud's idea that will is a means of conscious control. Rank's criticism of psychoanalysis for abetting the neurotic patient's attempt to justify and rationalize his behavior is discussed. The concept of the negative in Rank and of negation in Freud is examined in relation to the implicit view of death in each author. It is contended that Freud's view is instinctualistic and regards limitation as imposed by external factors, while Rank's is existential and considers limitation as internal self-restriction. Rank's end-setting in therapy makes constructive use of this understanding., and Rank's approach to creative process in psychotherapy is compared with what he considered Freud's emphasis on the normal in psychoanalysis. Freud's view of art and the artist, and his notions of sublimation and ego ideal, are discussed in relation to Rank's developing idea of the artist. Rank's belief that the neurotic individual is a "failed artist" and that the artist is a person who is the embodiment of creative willing and active seeking of immortality is considered in relation to his constructive psychotherapy, which is an art of spontaneity, of effective use of limitation, and of creative possibility.
- Dissertation Note:
- Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University 1983.
- Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 45-01, Section: B, page: 3690.
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