There is a fine line between the affliction of a mental or emotional issue that hinders and one that is used to help; while many people who are affected by psychological conditions find themselves unhappy and unable to achieve their desired quality of life, others seem to manifest similar concerns in ways that dazzle us with creativity. The links between genius and pathology are often made, with many famous minds and creative talents pointing to their experiences with a range of issues for which people frequently seek therapy. In a recent issue of The Independent, a prominent UK news publication, writer John Walsh expands upon the history of these links and goes on to seek out their relevance within the context of modern society.
While Walsh touches upon a number of famous figures and phenomenon that might be used to suggest a link between mental distress and creativity or genius, the description of the precise mode in which these two elements sometimes interact is somewhat lacking. While it may be tempting to suggest that someone who is strongly affected by a given mental health issue is more volatile and therefore more likely to produce something remarkable, there seems to be another explanation waiting in the wings.
People who experience or suffer certain emotional or psychological issues, whether clinically diagnosed or not, are often engaged in examining their own subconscious mind and in exploring their interactions with the world at large. Through necessity, simply curiosity, or the encouragements of habit and time, people affected mentally in different or destructive ways in response to events may have a much better insight about themselves and the environment. Adding to this possibility, the fact that many modern creative and scientific talents have experienced mental health issues suggests that the process of examining the self and the world through the eyes of therapy may aid the creative process and bolster the brain.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.