Creative engagement and dissociation: Shifts in perception, self-integration, and object relations

Yvonne L. Lutter (1999)

This study explores a theoretical link between creative processes and clinical dissociation based on the premise that trauma distorts psychic structure and arrests developmental process, while creative engagement enhances self cohesion and furthers self development. The thesis of this inquiry is that both traumatically induced dissociative episodes and creatively inspired "involvements" (Hilgard, 1970) share a shift of consciousness and related attentional processes, altering temporal and spatial perception as well as affecting self integration and object relations. Drawing on both classic and current psychological literature in these two disparate fields, this inquiry argues that the study of creative engagement and dissociation offers a way to organize clinical understanding regarding both health and pathology. The questions of this study pertain to the nature of the relationship between creative engagement and clinical dissociation. A case for a possible interaction effect between these two domains is presented. Implications for both future research and clinical treatment are also discussed.