The concept and process of Pathography was first introduced by Freud with the publication of ‘Leonardo Da Vinci and a Memory of his Childhood’ (1910), he wanted to find a way to explore and present something of a biography of an artist through analysing the artwork and written work.

Pathography is further defined by psychotherapist Nicky Glover as 'The viewing of art as a privileged form of neurosis where the analyst-critic explores the artwork in order to understand and unearth the vicissitudes of the creator’s psychological motivations' (2009).

The version of Pathography that I offer contributes quite profoundly to the artist’s sense of self. My doctoral research consisted of devising this process by which art practice can be developed alongside analysis of the artwork, providing potential insight into the artist’s internal world. Being a lens-based artist, I have predominately used photography, but any media can be used in this process. Over a series of sessions, frequency to be decided between us, your relationship with yourself as artist can be worked through and developed. The method, which incorporates the process of self-representation with support and analysis will bring valuable insights into your relation with your artwork, which I would argue is vital to the authenticity of the work.

I have trained as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist after many years of working professionally in the arts, alongside my own art practice, so it is a natural progression for me to bring together my interests in psychoanalytic practice and art practice to offer Pathography.

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy practice website www.spencerrowell-psychotherapy.co.uk

In my thesis, I introduce the origins of the idea of developing a method that analyses artwork to see something of the artist’s pathography. I describe my experience of bringing my own art practice within sight of my psychoanalytic training and practice. I discuss how this method where artwork is made in the knowledge it will be analysed, means that an internal conversation can be made public; the artist’s relationship with his or her practice. I call this a form of self-portraiture where a series of viewpoints accompanied by a written narrative can express more of a sense of who one is.

Download doctoral thesis (PDF): An Exploration of Pathography within Phototherapy, An Analysis of the Photographic Self-Portrait