Transformations Through Myth and Metaphor.
Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2004, XIV, 148 pp.
Contemporary Psychoanalytic Studies 3
“Throughout the book, utilizing case examples and wonderfully appropriate snippets from Alice in Wonderland, Charles describes extremes in which the dialectic becomes a space in which symbols are formed and ideas created … Charles masterfully and eloquently weaves a tale of the importance of play for the development of the soul … [a] wonderful, useful, and eminently readable book … It was delightful experience to be in the presence of Marilyn Charles’ sensitivity, to encounter familiar mentors on unfamiliar roads, and to read a treatise on the art of psychoanalysis constantly ensconced in the mantel of poetry.”
Psychologist-Psychoanalyst - Spring 2005
(Official Publication of Division 39 of the American Psychological Association)
"In this and in her other writings Marilyn Charles reveals an admirable talent for conveying the texture, the nuances, the tonalities of human self-limitation and the subtleties of the therapeutic relationship -- how and why it works, when it does. She integrates theory, e.g., of Winnicott and of Bion, and clinical practice in an evocative way which has the effect of making the reader want to do likewise."
Robert Maxwell Young, Editor of Free Associations
One of the challenges in psychoanalytic work is to find ways to enliven the space when working with individuals whose thinking is highly constrained and who have little capacity for play. This incapacity often signals a split between valued and devalued aspects of self. In cases such as these, self-protection becomes paramount and may profoundly impede growth, as whatever is not known is perceived as dangerous, rather than being a challenge that invites further development. For the therapist who must create aliveness within the consulting room, we are caught by the very real threat that this aliveness poses to the defensive structures on which the patient’s equilibrium rests. Movement thus can be quite precarious. In this volume, Marilyn Charles considers how notions of “play” and “myth”, as brought into the literature by Winnicott and Bion, can help to provide an interim space in which impossible realities can be constructed at a safe enough reserve that we can more actively consider them and thereby create possibilities, rather than foreclosing on them.
“Marilyn Charles treats us once again to a highly readable, articulate, erudite, work in which she seamlessly glides between fascinating, poignant, and “alive” clinical material and current, broadly-based psychoanalytic theory”
James S. Grotstein
Foreword- James S. Grotstein
1. On Wondering : Creating Openings Into the Analytic Space
2. Ambivalence: The Hope and Fear of Recognition
3. Creative Myth-Making: The Importance of Play
4. Playing in an Empty Room
5. Myths of Father and Son
6. Myths of Mother and Daughter
7. A Beautiful Mind: Narcissism and Creativity
About the Author
Marilyn Charles is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in practice in East Lansing Michigan, who works extensively with artists, writers, and musicians. A poet and an artist, herself, she has had a special interest in the creative process and in facilitating creativity in patients and in clinicians. As a Training and Supervising Analyst with the Michigan Psychoanalytic Council and Adjunct Professor of Clinical Psychology at Michigan State University, she is committed to mentoring the next generation of clinicians, for whom issues of creativity and generativity are of particular importance. Dr. Charles has presented her work widely and has published extensively in psychoanalytic journals. She is the author of Patterns: Building Blocks of Creativity (2002) and Learning From Experience: A Clinician’s Guide (2004), both published by The Analytic Press.