Understanding Writer's Block: A Therapist's Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment

Understanding Writer's Block: A Therapist's Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment

Understanding Writer's Block: A Therapist's Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment

Understanding Writer's Block: A Therapist's Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment

Synopsis

This innovative book explains writer's block (and other creative blocks) as a symptom of a larger disorder. These disorders can affect all creative and would-be creative people. This book is the first to treat writer's block from a classic, DSM-IV diagnostic perspective. Kantor identifies 10 kinds of writer's block, classified according to the underlying disorder that causes that block. Included in the text is a discussion of the general characteristics of blockage and how the therapist can distinguish between acute and chronic forms of block, as well as an exploration into the causes of block. With this book, Kantor has laid the foundation for the development of a successful treatment approach. Throughout the text, case studies drawn from historical sources and the author's patients illustrate the various kinds of block.

Excerpt

This is not a book about creativity, nor about the origin of creativity in madness. It is a book about creative, or writer's, block, one kind of "madness." Though this kind of "madness" affects romantic people, it is not a romantic disorder. It is not the kind psychiatrists and psychologists so often like to write about, the good kind where an unkempt creator with long hair spins beautiful poems from ugly delusions. It is the evil kind, the kind that cramps hands, stills voices, and empties hearts.

TERMINOLOGY: "CREATIVE BLOCK" OR "WRITER'S BLOCK?"

Although for purposes of convenience and to reflect popular usage the terms "creative block" and "writer's block" are used interchangeably, the term "creative block" is preferred here because it emphasizes how block affects the process of creating, not merely the act of writing, and can afflict all creative people.

Creative, or writer's, block is a relatively common disorder that affects the genius and the merely talented alike: the composer and the assembly-line worker, the painter of canvases and the painter of houses. Because of it Herman Melville writes comparatively little for thirty-five or so years; Antonio Vivaldi (to paraphrase a statement popularly attributed to Igor Stravinsky, among others) writes not five hundred concertos but one concerto five hundred times; and the head "cook and bottle washer" of the household instead of creating new dishes serves the same old ones each night to a progressively exasperated audience, his or her family.

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