ABSTRACT. In this paper, originally delivered as the keynote address at the annual meeting of the NYS Psychological Association, I take issue with the common view that madness or mental illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder contribute to creativity and suggest that it is more interesting to explore the converse view that creativity contributes to mental health and psychological well-being. Drawing from art, literature, psychology, and my own experience as a mental health professional, a jazz pianist, and a photographer and digital image maker, I maintain that the creative process creates opportunities for intense activity and accomplishment, can open people to inner depths and to powerful connections with artistic colleagues and cultures, and can provide a sense of transcendent meaning. Creative efforts can contribute, not uniquely but importantly, to developing a sense of well-being for people who are fundamentally mentally healthy and for those who have mental disorders, including those with severe mental illness and those with dementia. pp. 39–58

Keywords: creativity; well-being; mental health; recovery

How to cite: Friedman, Michael B. (2014), “Creativity and Psychological Well-being,” Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice 6(2): 39–58.

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School of Social Work,
Columbia University

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