The use of automatic writing in determining conflicts and early childhood impressions
AbstractIn a previous article, "Automatic Writing as an Indicator of the Fundamental Factors Underlying the Personality" , I discussed the psychological factors involved in producing the dissociation phenomenon known as automatic writing and reported two cases illustrating bisexuality, polymorphous perverse sexual tendencies and criminal trends, besides other traits, but these cases had merely been observed and no special analysis had been attempted as neither subject was a patient. In my concluding paragraph I made the statement that I felt automatic writing could be considered an especially valuable instrument in the study of mental disturbances of psychogenic origin to reveal the predominating elements of the patient's mental make-up--but I then had no idea just how valuable I was to find it. I can now definitely state that it may be used as a successful adjunct to psychoanalysis, first to hasten the solution of the conflicts and second to minimize the problems of transfer and resistance. Following an exposition of the physical characteristics of automatic writing, the author discusses her technique of initiating and reading the automatic writing. Three different cases where automatic writing was used by the author are described in detail. It has been said that automatism and dissociation constitute a reversible reaction and that the development of automatism tends to produce further dissociation. If that is so, I shall then be asked if it is not dangerous to cultivate automatism? My answer is that automatism is dangerous if used only as an amusement and if it is not carefully supervised. If the subject is not allowed to write more than an hour at a time and only in the presence of the physician, and if the material recorded is taken up immediately and discussed and the problems presented worked out, there is never any harmful effect; on the contrary these sessions seem to be followed by a distinct sense of relief. In view of the results of this set of experiments I feel justified in offering the following conclusions. 1. That automatic writings may be developed in any person who has had any serious set of conflicts with distinct repression. 2. That its use in conjunction with psychoanalysis is invaluable in getting at unconscious processes quickly and in helping to overcome such resistance as may be present. 3. That it is an excellent means of determining the earliest childhood impressions. 4. That it may be used to find the patient's latent talents and to exteriorize these talents so that they become a part of the conscious activity. 5. That it is an exceedingly dangerous amusement and should be used only under the supervision of a person competent to direct such activities and to interpret the material recorded.