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The Creative Matrix

Anxiety and the Origin of Creativity


Andrew Brink

The Creative Matrix shows how Freudian and Kleinian theories of creativity are giving way to an attachment model, owing to research on anxiety by John Bowlby and other psychobiologists. We are entering an era of rapproachment between psychoanalysis, neurobiology, and attachment theory. Theory of creativity must take into account the rapid advances toward an integrated view of human development and capacity for adaptation. The Creative Matrix offers a critical review of British Object Relations theories of creativity from Melanie Klein through Ronald Fairbairn, Marion Milner, D. W. Winnicott, and others. It studies these theories in the light of Bowlby’s challenge to psychoanalytic accounts of child development and personality formation. Creativity is seen as a necessary concomitant of anxious attachment in infants and children – as a natural adaptive resource in overcoming trauma and other deflections of normal development. Brief studies of poets Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton show how attachment theory illuminates bipolar disorder and poetic creativity.