Is Trauma Interfering with Your Life, Creativity or Performance?
by Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Psy.D., LMFT
Have you experienced a traumatic event that is affecting not only your life, but also your creativity or performance? Maybe it’s not a big traumatic event, but many repeated painful moments that still impact you today? Are you being haunted by the memories of being mistreated? Or, memories of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse – whether as a child or as a result of the arts and entertainment industry where you work?
Perhaps you feel your talent is desired, but not valued as much as it should be. Maybe you aren’t being paid what you deserve. Or, you feel that your personal and professional relationships are devoid of appreciation, love, or respect—a cycle that’s perpetuated in job after job, relationship after relationship.
Despite all the creative gifts you have, you may not feel happy, or you’re not where you should be at this point in your personal life or artistic career. Instead, where there should be satisfaction and pride, there’s just an empty disconnect.
If your career is being affected by the memories of a traumatic experience or some painful repeated events, it can be confusing. You may even feel conflicted about addressing these experiences.
For instance, perhaps your history of trauma is making your creativity or performance on stage more believable and authentic, but offstage, it’s wreaking havoc on your personal life and relationships. Conversely, it may be that you’re stuck in your career. The shame of being unable to move forward is further stunting your creative growth, or even your personal happiness. Or, others may have told you that your art is maybe too intense, too dark, or too real – that no one will want that kind of art – furthering the cycle of depression anxiety, and shame.
Alternatively, perhaps the work produced in an emotionally painful, depressed, or traumatic state may be reviewed as some of your best. Consequently, you feel you have no choice but to keep the “trauma train” going so you can achieve professional success.
You know you have something special you can offer the world – if only you could work through this pain. If you could just heal from this hurt, then you could finally feel happier and more successful.
Do you wish you could live, create or perform well without having to relive the worst moments of your life?
Even Successful Performers Experience Trauma
It’s easy to look at famous actors, authors, musicians, and other creative types and assume they have it all together – but all the success in the world can’t buy mental health. You have probably heard of a few performers with trauma, from J.K. Rowling to Robin Williams.
Psychologists have recognized the link between creatives, performers and trauma and the way it impacts creativity. As a performer, you are likely to be more conscious and reflective than the average person. This capacity to notice more and feel more makes you more likely to take failure, disappointment, and rejection on a personal level. Furthermore, highly skilled creative or performers tend to be their own worst critics: a performance or piece of art that receives rave reviews can still be seen as inferior by the creator.
For those who have survived traumatic childhoods, or other tragic experiences, creativity, or fine arts can be used as a way to “let go” of the self – a way to, in a sense, to disappear or escape. While this coping mechanism can make for award-winning shows, concerts, or art, it can’t heal a painful inner life, in which the trauma is constantly re-lived.
Fortunately, there is a specialized form of counseling available for unique creatives like you. With trauma therapy, you can learn how to successfully manage and heal from your post-traumatic stress or old emotional pain without hindering your creative work. You have it within you to be happy, authentically connected with others, and successful in your personal and professional life.
Why Choose Trauma Therapy?
I developed a therapy model specifically for creatives and performers like you. My practice is devoted to helping you work through emotional issues that can stunt your creative growth and hinder good performance. Therapy for performers and creatives helps you understand who you truly are and create what you want to create in a way that is authentic and influences people without having to relive the experience(s) that have hurt you.
In our sessions, we will dig into your history of trauma, big or small, and uncover how it is blocking you and work through it. I will help you heal from your past through proven techniques based on the neurobiology of therapy of trauma, psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, mindfulness, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and psychoanalysis – all of which can help set you free from your painful past and unlock creative potential and to live more fully.
If trauma has hindered your professional or personal success, working through it in therapy can help you turn a difficult corner. You can break this unhealthy cycle and set the stage for a more fulfilling personal and professional life. Just as you work hard to hone your craft, you can work hard to succeed in spite of your traumatic past. Therapy for performers can help you find happiness and fulfillment both on the stage and in private life.
You May Have Some Concerns About Trauma Therapy…
I’m successful enough on my own – I don’t need therapy.
Fixing ourselves can help create a more beautiful world with better connections. Traumatic cycles can continue to repeat if we don’t make steps to fix them. You may have been handling your trauma on your own by ignoring it, or engaging in potentially harmful activities. Maybe you’re hurting yourself or others. But these methods are only temporary: they don’t target the root cause of your trauma, which could be transferred to the next generation.
If I go to therapy, I won’t be able to use my emotional pain to create or perform.
It’s possible that you may not be aware you are already stuck in an emotional pattern that is stunting creative growth. Imagine how much more creative and productive you could be if you took some steps toward healing. You will never know what sort of potential you could unlock if you never give therapy a try. As you heal, you’ll have access to a more rich emotional life from which to create or tell your stories.
Isn’t trauma therapy expensive?
It’s true that therapy can be an investment – but think of it as an investment in both your personal and professional future. You can stop repeating self-defeating cycles and heal emotional pain. Less flashbacks, reduced triggers, and learning better coping mechanisms will lead to a happier, healthier inner life – which can only help your creativity or performance on set.
Schedule Your Appointment For Trauma Therapy
If you are ready to begin the road to recovery, I offer a free 15-minute consult by phone. You can reach me at 310-424-0292, or through the contact page.
Arts and entertainment careers can be so brutal. In order to make it as a creative or performer, you may have found it necessary to hide behind an emotional armor to protect yourself. This emotional armor has its value. It feels safer to take on the world behind that...
As an artist, you have a deep calling to create. And, at the same time, you need your audience to show you how much they value your art or your performance. When you look at your audience’s reactions to your art, you see it as a reflection of who you and what you’ve...
You know you’re a talented artist. And, in many ways, you believe you’re meant to live a big, meaningful creative life. Unfortunately, your dreams don’t always match up with the reality you’re living. In your fantasies, your mind takes you to all these wonderful...
Rejection lurks around every corner in the arts world. In fact, for you, the creative or the performer, knowing how to tolerate, be with, and work with rejection is almost a career requirement! Even if rejection hurts, you can learn how to turn in your favor....
Being creative is your life. You are fascinated by the arts and you couldn’t imagine a life without creating. At the same time, you are scared and terrified by this career. It’s a fine balance between keeping yourself grounded and slipping into the territory of...