Fantasy, Creativity and the World We Live In: Responses to Freud's 'Creative Writers and Daydreaming' (1908)

Taking Freud's seminal paper, “Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming” (1908) as a starting point, this conference will offer reflections on psychoanalytic understandings of creative processes as they have evolved over time, and as they relate to our inner and outer worlds today.

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Saturday, February 27, 2021

8:30 AM EST Online Lecture & Discussion
Online registration is required for this program. All registrants will receive a Zoom Meeting Link.
To receive Continuing Education, registration must be completed by Friday, February 26, 2021 at 10:00 AM EST.



Fantasy, Creativity and the World We Live In: Responses to Freud's 'Creative Writers and Daydreaming' (1908)
In Honor of Christopher Bullock, MD


Taking Freud's seminal paper, “Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming” (1908) as a starting point, this conference will offer reflections on psychoanalytic understandings of creative processes as they have evolved over time, and as they relate to our inner and outer worlds today.  Freud recognized a wishful continuity of childhood play, phantasy, daydreaming and creation of literary fiction. “Thus past present and future are strung together, as it were, on the thread of the wish that runs through them,” he wrote. And he puzzled over the writer's power to absorb our imaginations, but he also thought play was “a correction of unsatisfying reality.”  “The opposite of play is not what is serious,” he wrote, “but what is real.”  

Since Freud, many other psychoanalytic writers have added their reflections on the nature and functions of creativity (e.g. Paula Heimann, Marion Milner, Adrian Stokes, Anton Ehrenzweig, D. W. Winnicott, Christopher Bollas, Gilbert Rose), questioning the compensatory function of art.  How can we understand creative processes today?  How are fantasy and creative imagination related to one another, to therapeutic processes, and to our shared outer worlds?  As artists and clinicians confront “the world we live in,” how are the potential spaces of creativity promoted or inhibited by our social and political conditions?  These are the kinds of questions our three invited speakers will explore in this conference.

Each of our speakers brings special interests and achievements to the dialogues among psychoanalytic ideas, clinical experience and the arts, including literature, film, and the visual arts.

This program is designed to enhance understanding of the roles of phantasy and creative processes in both the arts and in the psychoanalytic process.  Speakers will address the ways in which the capacity for imaginative activity is promoted or inhibited in the clinical setting. Practitioners will learn to identify, in their clinical work, factors that both facilitate and inhibit creative processes in their patients.  



Lucy LaFarge, MD (Panelist) is the Regional Editor for North America of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Weill-Cornell Medical College. She has written about the interface between psychoanalysis and literature, exploring the work of Balzac, Dickens and Henry James. Most recently she has been writing about the frame and the role played by the sense of a frame in literature and in the analytic process.  

Patricia Townsend, PhD (Panelist) is an artist and a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Recent exhibitions include a solo show Black Sun, Blue Light, at Brantwood, John Ruskin’s former home in Cumbria, UK. Her research now focuses on the contribution of psychoanalytic thinking to an understanding of the creative process of visual artists. Her recent book is, Creative States of Mind: Psychoanalysis and the Artist’s Process (Routledge, 2019). Patricia’s artwork can be seen at

John Rosegrant, PhD (Panelist) is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the New Orleans-Birmingham Psychoanalytic Center and the Contemporary Freudian Society of New York City and Washington, D.C. He has written about play therapy, dreams, fairy tales, Harry Potter, and the World of Warcraft computer game, and edited a special issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychology on “Adolescents, Children, & Technology”. He has developed a psychoanalytic understanding of J.R.R. Tolkien and his works. 

Murray Schwartz, PhD (Moderator) For over fifty years, Murray Schwartz has taught Shakespeare, psychoanalysis and Holocaust literature. His interdisciplinary writing includes essays on Shakespeare’s last plays, the work of Erik Erikson, applied psychoanalysis, modern poetry and trauma studies. He co-edited Representing Shakespeare: New Psychoanalytic Essays (1980), Memory and Desire: Psychoanalysis, Literature, Aging (1985). He is Coordinator of BPSI’s Center for Multi-Disciplinary Psychoanalytic Studies (COMPASS) and editor of American Imago.



8:30-9:00; Moderator’s Introduction & Tribute to Christopher Bullock, MD; Presentation #1, 9:00-9:30; Presentation #2, 9:30 –10:00; Presentation #3, 10:00 – 10:30; Discussion with Panelists & Audience 10:30 –11:00


Learning Objectives
At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe Freud’s understanding of play, phantasy in creative writing in terms of sublimation instincts.
  2. Identify three key concepts in the history of psychoanalytic theories of phantasy and creativity.
  3. Provide one example of psychoanalytic views of creativity in relation to clinical, social and political context.
  4. Identify three key features of creative processes in psychoanalysis.



Our programs are made possible by the generous support of BPSI members and friends. Your gift to BPSI supports
psychoanalytic and psychotherapy education and ensures the future of our field. To make a gift, please visit
BPSI is grateful for the many gifts received in honor of Christopher Bullock, MD, and to the New England Foundation for Psychoanalysis for its generous grant in support of this program.
Thank you!
This program will be of interest to the general public, graduate students in the areas of psychology, social work, and the humanities,
and mental health clinicians at all levels of training. 
$75 Lecture Fee
$65 Early Bird Special (available until 02/09/2021)
Use Code at Checkout: EB2021WWL
The fee is waived for Early Career Clinicians, and BPSI Members, Trainees, and Partners.
Scholarships available upon request.
Continuing Education 
Physicians: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. The American Psychoanalytic Association is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The American Psychoanalytic Association designates this Live Activity for a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION FOR ALL LEARNERS: None of the planners and presenters of this CME program have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.
Psychologists: The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This program fulfills the requirements for 2 hours of CE. 
Please note: Per APA requirements, psychologists must attend 100% of a course in order to be eligible for continuing education credit.
Social Workers: Application for social work continuing education credtis has been submitted. Please contact us at or 617-266-0953 for the status of social work CE accreditation.
Please noe: Per NASW requirements, social workers must attend 80% of a course in order to be eligible for continuing education credit.
Licensed Mental Health Clinicians: The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6913. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. This program offers 2 NBCC Clock Hours.


Event Cancellation Policies & Procedures
Any program participant requesting their individual program registration be canceled, must submit their request in writing via email to Drew Brydon-Cardoso at For fee-based events, a request for cancellation (and refund using the original form of payment) must be received no later than 48 hours in advance of the event. Requests received later than 48 hours prior to the event will not be processed or accepted. All approved refunds are subject to a $10.00 administrative fee. If BPSI cancels and event, all registrants will receive a full refund of fees paid (no administration charge) no later than two business days following the scheduled date of the event, using the original form of payment.

Grievance Policy
Please address any questions or concerns about your experience at this or any program or event you have attended at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute to the Program Chair, via the Senior Administrator/Continuing Education Administrator, BPSI, 141 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459;; 617.266.0953.

The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Inc., 141 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459, does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, national origin or handicap in the admissions, administration of its educational programs, scholarship programs or employment.





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