Posted in Coursework

Assignment One – Research – Psychoanalysis

My inital thoughts were to focus on the beauty of the little things in life, things that can often be missed in our busy lives. It would tie in well with the miniature series I’ve done in the past assignments yet at the same time I wanted to try different themes.

My second idea was to capture reflections. To show how what was on the surface was the beauty yet the distorted twisting reflections were the sublime. I took several at the Zoo. The almost surrealism spin on the water reminded me a bit of Salvador Dali’s paintings.


Photo by Chloe Halstead – 2017


However the more I studied beauty the more my ideas shifted and changed like a shattered looking-glass reflecting back alternate images. I read Sigmund Freud’s opinions of the sublime and how he related it to psychoanalysis and was intrigued to explore this topic further. My research into psycho analysis was fascinating, it was something I knew very little about and I have included my research in this post. Throughout this course, I always find a route of psychology opening to me.

‘The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious, it is the source of all true art and science’ Albert Einstein

The more I thought of mystery, the unknown, unsettling feelings like the sublime and how such things scared you as a child mixed in with my study of psychoanalysis and the way in which it harks back to hidden roots of your childhood, I found the assignment evolving into portraying my ‘childhood fear landscape’ I was a very enthusiastic, creative child and my imagination knew no limits (still the true) but with such a good imagination comes negatives, you can be in the most relaxing, safe environment and still scare yourself senseless.I remembered how I would stare up at the trees and duck as the branches reached towards me like witches fingers. How the thought of the house being engulfed in fire kept me awake at night crying with fear, how I was terrified I would walk into the loch and disappear into his depths. These are just a few of them and the more I thought about such things the more fears I remembered, the majority of them were quite irrational but there were those that most children share. In a study it was found that everyone is born with two innate fears; fear of falling and fear of loud noises.

These are just a few of my childhood fears and the more I thought about such things the more fears I remembered, the majority of them were quite irrational but there were those that most children share. In a study it was found that everyone is born with two innate fears; fear of falling and fear of loud noises.

I will create a separate post to highlight my thoughts and ideas for this assignment.

In the dystopian novel, Divergent the characters were thrown into a simulation of their fears known as their fear landscape. As the author, Veronica Roth is a psychologist I will do more research into that. I am in Scotland at the moment and the landscape is very suitable especially as I grew up here from age eight and the more I look the more I see my childhood fears unearthed in the landscape.

Psychoanalysis research 

Psychoanalysis is a form of psychotherapy, discovered by Sigmund Freud who believed that the mind is capable of extraordinary things and that unconscious factors could produce unhappiness which would be expelled through a variety of complex issues. He believed that the roots of such problems were buried deep mostly in childhood and in pain and psychoanalysis is the process of focusing on bringing repressed emotions and thoughts to the surface to be dealt with accordingly. Freud believed that a person could be healed by uncovering hidden and unconscious thoughts.

According to Professor Don Covett, Sigmund Freud had more books on archaeology than psychology. “The mind is structured in layers like archaeological digs, excavating fragments of long ago. Piecing these together to create an early history.” Thus creating a foundation on which to work with and help release these hidden and repressed emotions.

To understand psychoanalysis, I first looked at the elements of psychotherapy. Those in the psychotherapy field portray a figure of trust, someone you can tell your darkest secrets to, someone who is amicable and helps you work out your issues in an understanding, patient way, offering suggestions, alternatives and overall giving you the tools you need to face your issues.  You can see them perhaps every week or fortnight and the time period the sessions go on for can differ depending on the patient.

The psychoanalyst is much more intense, sessions can be taken several times a week often for longer than a year. It is more emotionally and physically draining as the patient explores hidden thoughts, emotions and unconscious factors. The root of the problem is most often buried deep down and the patient may not even be aware it is there. Sigmund Freud would set his patient on a long couch then sit behind them writing as they spoke of their dreams. Professor Don Covett described this as a triangle, there is the patient on one corner, the analysist on the other and then there is the apex which represents the open scape of the mind, of their life, the conscious and subconscious where the patient will talk about their dreams and emotions.

However the most striking and contrasting element of psychoanalysis is its surreal approach, instead of dealing with reality as psychotherapists generally do, psychoanalysis is almost like taking inspiration from Alice and Wonderland, working with dreams, recurring nightmares, fantasy, there is very little that seems to be fixed in reality, as though the patient is tied to a a piece of rope and is allowed to wander as far away into the surreal world of their thoughts and dreams. The origins are often found from childhood and pain experienced there and this free speech allows all these emotions and memories that have been in lock down to be released.

A psychoanalyst uses a variety of tools to help such as the infamous Rorschach ink blot, strange shapes almost like oil on water which is said to highlight certain aspects of your character, insecurities and fears. In regards to the assignment, I wonder if I could try a type of abstract photography that would tie in with this. Perhaps with the images seemingly abstract yet instead of seeing their own character or insecurities, the viewer is allowed a secret glimpse in to see my childhood fears. 

Whilst the idea of working with dreams and fantasy can sound appealing and evocative of a Tim Burton movie others describe the process as being extremely weird, a nighttime activity filled with sexual fantasies.  Whilst most of Freud’s theories are accepted and taught in schools there are those that believe psychoanalysis can not be proved to be a science but there is no doubt that it helps the majority of people to go on and lead happier and mentally healthier live.s



Hi, I'm ChloeClik, artist, writer, photographer, musician, day dreamer and all round lover of life. I love so much in life and equally love to blog about it. I hope you enjoy sharing some of my adventures with me :)

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