Fine Lines in a Delicate Blur: Some Concerns about the Overlap of Poetry and Therapy

Adam Shechter


Writing poems can be dangerous when the poet is dealing with very strong feelings, as digesting them in poetic isolation can be way too much. Therapy offers a method to relate to such feelings through another living-breathing person as a containing vehicle for this too-muchness. Bion’s use of catastrophic metaphors apply as a means of communication and transformation, modeled on the early relationship of mother and infant. The need for a containing-metabolizing other calls into question the mysticism of the poem but does not close off the question. On the contrary, this paper explores how poetry and therapy work together to form a Winnicottian transitional space for experiencing and creating who we are in the catastrophic context.



Poetry, Psychotherapy, Bion, Winnicott

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