Woman playing violin with deep focus, presence, inspired You probably remember moments when you have felt deeply connected to yourself and with who you are. You’ve been able to open your heart and “feel your feelings.” You’ve felt fully present, creative, and inspired.

You’ve had these experiences, you know what it’s like to be emotionally attuned to yourself. 

When you are attuned to your inner-world, you are just like a musical instrument in a symphony. You can live in a harmonious relationship with everything around you when you are attuned to  yourself.

Harmony and fluidity within create the space for a harmonious connection with other people and with your entire world. 

To be intimately connected to who you are and have a well-tuned emotional instrument means you are grounded and present to the rich complexities of your multi-layered emotional experiences.

When you have a true connection to your essence, you can show up for yourself, for others, and create fulfilling experiences. You can create genuine romantic and family connections, as well as friendships and good working professional relationships that further your career. In such moments of full emotional attunement, your imagination and inspiration are wide open and you find yourself in true creative flow.

Man hugging his guitar But It’s Not Always Easy to Live in Harmony

First, let’s be clear about what “living in harmony” is.

Harmony is not about everything in our life being smooth, stress free, or pain free. To be human is to face many challenging emotional experiences. But, when you can ride life’s beautiful and challenging moments while staying in touch with your true self, you open yourself to authentic connection and living. This is what we mean when we talk about “living in harmony.”

Unfortunately, a sense of disharmony may be more familiar to you. A lack of internal harmony can look and feel like:

  • Conflicted relationships due to insecure or avoidant attachment which result in feeling insecure or uncomfortable in who you are. You either feel overwhelmed by your emotions and insecure in yourself, or you feel disconnected from your emotions and you avoid feeling your feelings. In either case, you’re not present and connected to your emotions so you cannot use your emotions to connect with others and with your own creativity.
  • Anxiety, depression, and addictions. Though we may see these as problems in themselves, these are often symptoms of unresolved emotional trauma from early childhood relationships. Anxiety, depression, and addiction are ways of coping with the lack of authentic connection to yourself.                                                                 Broken and abandoned piano in the desert
  • Stagnant creativity. When you’re either overwhelmed by your internal world or you’re trying to avoid feeling it, you can’t access your imaginations and inspiration to be your best creative self.
  • Impaired sense of self agency. When you lack an authentic connection to  yourself, you often feel lost, unsure of  what you want, unable to make decisions, and you find yourself daydreaming rather than investing your energy into truly achieving your goals or dreams.

What Does It Take to Develop a “Self-Attuned Emotional Instrument”?

Our emotional attunement starts early in childhood and depends on the quality of our relational environment. This emotional attunement process continues all throughout life. For both children and adults, the relational environment we live in creates the core of our emotional health.

When you are born and raised into a relational environment that is attuned to you, you  develop your authentic self. You are able to create your life from an intimate connection to your essence.

As kids, we have many needs, including the need to feel: Mom and little girl, both dressed as ballerina, playing with a violin

–    safe, loved, to be seen, and heard

–   curious and in awe about the world

–  able to explore and discover the world

–   encouraged and inspired

–    our fears, doubts, or painful feelings be comforted

–    safe to explore and discover who we really are

When the people who raise us (parents, teachers, extended family, and other caregivers) are emotionally attuned to our childhood needs, then we develop the capacity to self-attune to our own needs and emotions. That attunement (or lack of attunement) becomes part of who we are.

When our childhood needs are met, we can navigate our lives feeling safe, loved, seen, and heard. We know what we feel, why, and how to soothe difficult feelings. We can use our feelings to connect, create, and invest ourselves into goals or dreams. Father teaching his young son how to play guitar

The good news is that the attuned emotional relational environment doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be good enough for us to become our own attuned emotional instrument as adults. If, however, our needs aren’t sufficiently met in childhood, we enter adulthood with a sense of emotional deprivation and it’s much harder to attune to the emotions within.

As adults we continue to have the same needs, but being there for ourselves and others from an emotional place of fullness is different then from a pace of deprivation.

So, this may cause you to question if you must begin life with loving and caring relationships in order to be a happy, successful person. 

If you’re looking back and realizing that you didn’t grow up in a “good enough” emotionally attuned relational environment (like so many others whose childhood needs were not met), you may worry that this idea of self-attunement just isn’t for you.

Man - back image - holding hex saxophone at his back and facing a outdoors stair Don’t worry. There’s hope. 

So, how do you heal and reconnect to your authentic, attuned sense of self? 

Psychotherapy can take you on a powerful, transformative journey that enables you to heal the parts of you that are still longing for emotional attunement.

There are many choices when it comes to psychotherapy and counseling. If you’re someone who wants to address the wounds of childhood and develop your own inner emotional world in the present, a psychodynamic approach, combined with the insights of Interpersonal Neurobiology and EMDR can provide a deep, lasting healing and positive change.

A combination of these psychotherapy approaches allows you to heal the emotional trauma from misattuned relationships and develop and reconnect with your attuned relationship with your true self.

How does this distinct psychotherapy combination work?A woman and a man playing their guitars under the moon

  • You develop an attuned relationship with your therapist. Therapy is a relational journey filled with emotionally attuned moments that can heal past misattunement and serve as a model for other relationships outside therapy
  • You will let go of the unhealthy and defensive strategies that you developed to cope with misattunements  and emotionally traumatic childhood experiences
  • You will know how to navigate life with healthier responses in the face of current misattunements  so you don’t get re-traumatized
  • You will learn how to shift from living in your past and discover how to be truly present and connected in the now
  • You’ll get support so you can shift from what is called “an insecure and avoidant attachment style” into a “secure attachment style”

These are powerful shifts that will reconnect you with your own emotional attuned self and help you live a more fulfilling life. When you change aspects of your inner life, you become able to experience a more intimate connection to yourself and others, increase your creativity, and pursue personal and professional accomplishments that are aligned with your true self.A symphony group playing outdoors at night - all in a circle

You can impact the world when you connect and create from your attuned internal world. We create our most beautiful lives when we are deeply grounded, and present in our complex and rich emotional experiences.

Are you ready to begin that journey?I offer psychotherapy to clients across the state of California in person and through a telehealth model. My practice specializes in the needs of artists and creatives who wish to heal and return their emotional instruments in order to build healthy relationships, reconnect to their creativity, and pursue their personal and professional dreams.



Contact me to set up a free 15-20 minute consultation to see if psychotherapy can help you further your career and your personal life.

I am Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Doctor in Clinical Psychology. I help creatives face and shift emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, performance anxiety, creative blocks, and addictions – to be and live their own best version. You can read more about Therapy for Creatives and Performers here.

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