Bellow, the therapy king

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The Nobel Prize-winning novelist, Saul Bellow, underwent psychodynamic psychotherapy or psychoanalysis with four well-known practitioners: Dr Raphael Chester, a leading Reichian; Professor Paul Meehl, a psychoanalyst and the leading academic psychologist of his generation; Albert Ellis, founder of Rational-Emotive Therapy; and Heinz Kohut, the founder of Self Psychology who presented Bellow in two thinly disguised vignettes. Drawing on James Atlas' outstanding biography, the failures of these treatments are discussed in terms of Bellow's narcissism, his inability to stop acting out the love and loss of his mother in intense, but immediately adulterous marriages, as well as the special issues in the analysis of the creative individual. Direct connections between his therapies and his novels are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
JournalJung Journal: Culture and Psyche
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Albert Ellis
  • Heinz Kohut
  • Mourning
  • Novelists
  • Paul Meehl
  • Psychobiography
  • Psychotherapy of artists
  • Raphael Chester
  • Rational-emotive therapy
  • Reichian
  • Saul Bellow


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