Psychoanalysis and Art

Course NamePsychoanalysis and Art
Course CodePSY361 / PSY561
DescriptionWhat is Art? What emotions or sensations do you feel when you create? What is the relationship between art, dreams, mourning, phantasy, symbolization, subjectivity, identity, sexuality and the unconscious? This course seeks to introduce the area of overlap between psychoanalysis and art, including the mutual influences, borrowings, and inspirations between these two supposedly separate domains. It includes the psychodynamics of the creative process and what motivates us to do art. It looks at the aesthetic experience, how psychoanalysis can help us understand the powerful phenomenon of being confronted with a work of art, taken in its broadest sense. This leads us to study developments in psychoanalytic aesthetics, explored with various examples from painting, literature and film. Finally, the course looks at the therapeutic aspect of art and at the contemporary clinical practice of art therapy, including experiential art therapy workshops. Previous knowledge of psychoanalysis is not required as this course functions as an introduction to a range of psychoanalytic theories through their application to art.
Learning OutcomesUpon completion of this course, students should be able to:
– Demonstrate abilities to apply definitions and main concepts of different psychoanalytic schools to explain and interpret different aspects of art;
– Think theoretically and experientially about the clinical practice of art therapy;
– Provide evidence of their abilities to analyze, synthesize and evaluate the studied material through active participation in class;
– Compare and contrast differences between the psychoanalytical theories, outline the limits and controversies individual psychoanalytical theories imply when describing the same phenomena;
– Demonstrate their in-depth familiarity with theories’ conceptual frameworks, and ability to apply those in interpretation of artistic phenomena of choice;
– Demonstrate and defend their individual critical evaluation of art and aesthetics and critically review other fellow students’ positions; – Show active pursuit of in-depth discussions in seminars, ability to lead a class debate on a topic of choice;
– Demonstrate attainment of interpretive psychoanalytic perspectives applicable not just to the realm of art but also phenomena ranging from culture, politics and psychology to psychopathology and the media.
SchoolThe School of Humanities & Social Sciences 
LevelBachelor / Master
Number of credits (US / ECTS)3 US / 6 ECTS