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Art and Mental Disturbance

This article presents a psychological study of the “successful creative artist” and the relationship between art and mental disturbance. To elaborate, this article emphasizes what the author considers to be “natural” (i.e., self-motivated) creative self-expression in comparison to “normal” (i.e., socially approved) patterns of behavior. Although what is natural may overlap with what is considered normal in society, rarely are the two placed on equal footing. To illustrate this problem, the author introduces a new theory, “the artistic theory of psychology,” that casts a new light on the “successful” creative artist. Along the lines of Thomas Szasz and R. D. Laing, that which is referred to as “mental illness” is viewed from a nonjudgmental perspective but with the distinctive feature of suggesting that some people who are considered to be mentally ill may have significant creative artistic potential that can be highly therapeutic, both for them and for society at large.

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