Focused Psychotherapy for Artists, Arts Workers and The Creative Individual
One of the benefits of my background in the performing and visual arts is that I have a deep knowledge and experience of artists and the creative self. I know the impact of confidence issues, performance anxiety and stage fright, creative blocks, the isolation of working alone or the difficulty of working in a group. I understand the demands that the arts and entertainment industries put on us and those close to us. I can speak the language because I’ve been there.
Splits deep within us can often show themselves in creative work: an actor’s inability to find a way into a particular character; a painter consistently needing to overwork or overfill a piece; a singer not allowing the emotional states required by a particular passage; a writer’s ‘stuckness’ during a particular time in their life or point in the writing process; the pressure and resulting anxieties that arts’ workers are under because they have to produce; the difficulties in a relationship due to prolonged work away from home and touring. The dark dog within us is often thought to be our muse. Our work can serve as a mirror for our internal states. Sometimes eating disorders, substance abuse or other forms of self-harm are pursued as an attempt at self-medication. We find ourselves not reaching through a ceiling we have imposed upon ourselves: a ceiling that keeps us away from our own personal success. Or perhaps, we have become successful and sabotage our place in it, not being able to tolerate or identify fully with where we are now at. I have achieved so much of what I thought that I wanted: why can’t I be present or happy in it? The fear of success can often be more powerful in its’ unconscious dynamics and internal regulation than a fear of failure. It is important to consider the opposite vantage point to what is currently showing. We are so effective at compensating in the outside world for lived dynamics present internally.
The act of creation is particular and demanding. Artists and arts’ workers need to exist in an environment that is both safe, and conducive to exploration to allow for creative happenings. Unfortunately, these environments are not always present. Sometimes we are complicit in establishing or maintaining conflicted environments. Some of us may believe we need this kind of stimulation to feel “alive” and “creative”.
Bringing to consciousness conflicting dynamics within our interior and exterior worlds will not make you any less of an artist. You may just become less anxious and more productive. You will likely become a better communicator both through your art, in your work and with others. Once understanding (conscious awareness) and the lived experience that you have choice in responding differently to a situation is in place, regardless of your medium, movement and change can happen: you’ll find yourself more present and allow yourself to desire things that can become achievable.
Everyone deserves the chance to explore what it’s like to live at our full potential.
Whether you identify yourself as a creative person, professional artist, entertainer or arts worker: psychotherapy with this type of specific focus can bring about unexpected shifts and welcome change in your life.