The Writing Cure: Psychoanalysis, Composition, and the Aims of Education

The Writing Cure: Psychoanalysis, Composition, and the Aims of Education

The Writing Cure: Psychoanalysis, Composition, and the Aims of Education

The Writing Cure: Psychoanalysis, Composition, and the Aims of Education

Synopsis

Psychoanalysis and writing instruction have much to offer each other, asserts Mark Bracher. In this book, Bracher examines the intersection between these two fields and proposes pedagogical uses of psychoanalytic technique for writing instruction.

Psychoanalysis reveals that the writing process is profoundly affected by factors that current theories have largely neglected -- forces such as enjoyment, desire, fantasy, and anxiety, which, moreover, are often unconscious. Articulating an approach based on the work of Jacques Lacan, Bracher shows how a psychoanalytic perspective can offer useful insights into the nature of the writing process, the sources of writing problems, and the dynamics of writing instruction. He further demonstrates that writing instruction constitutes the most favorable venue outside of individual psychoanalytic treatment for pursuing psychoanalytic research and practice. Like psychoanalytic treatment proper, writing instruction can function as a way of reducing psychological conflict,and as a means of pursuing psychoanalytic research into the workings of the mind. Empirical studies and personal testimonies have demonstrated the psychological (and even the physical) benefits of writing about personal conflict in an academic setting; such benefits promise to be enhanced and consolidated through the application of psychoanalytic principles to the teaching of writing.

Excerpt

The basic argument of this book is that psychoanalysis and writing have much to offer each other, and that anyone interested in either of these fields or in the educational, personal, or social benefits that either practice can provide will benefit from exploring the intersection between the two. The primary audience of this book thus includes writing teachers, psychoanalytic practitioners (critics, teachers, and clinicians), social-activist cultural workers, and educators in general.

To writing teachers my argument is that a psychoanalytic perspective can offer unique and valuable insights into (a) central but often hidden forces operating in the writing process, (b) the sources of writing problems, and (c) the dynamics of writing instruction. Psychoanalysis reveals first of all that the writing process is profoundly affected by factors that current theories have largely neglected--forces such as enjoyment, desire, fantasy, and anxiety, which, moreover, are often unconscious. It further reveals that conflicts between these forces and the ego and its defenses are at the root of many writing problems. And finally, it offers strategies that writing teachers can make use of to help students reduce their psychological conflicts and hence improve their writing while also benefiting personally.

To psychoanalytically oriented critics, teachers, and clinicians--that is, to those whose primary agenda is to employ psychoanalytic principles as tools for exploring and for altering human subjectivity--my argument is that writing instruction constitutes what is perhaps the most favorable venue outside of individual psychoanalytic treatment for pursuing psychoanalytic research and practice. All the basic elements that constitute psychoanalysis as a unique mode of treatment are potentially (and often actually) present . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.