"You, I, We Created the Poet": Anne Sexton's Recorded Therapy, November 1963
Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 2010 Jun; 58(3): 421-44
In 1991, when it was revealed that the psychiatrist Martin Orne had released tapes of his therapy sessions with Anne Sexton to her biographer, mental health professionals expressed concern and outrage. Those who actually listen to the controversial tapes would be curious to find a debate between Sexton and Orne about mental illness, creativity, and therapeutic process. To what extent did Sexton's creative accomplishments point to aspects of her psychiatric progress that might otherwise have been overlooked? While Sexton asserted her achievements and sought affirmation from her psychiatrist, Orne persistently responded by stating that the poetry is not as important as the person. Their different ways of understanding the relationships between poetry and therapeutic process speak volumes about the power of the creative imagination to challenge existing structures of thought, even structures designed to define the psyche itself.
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