NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reclaiming Your Creativity

Many clients have come to see me over the years in my psychotherapy private practice in NYC to overcome creative psychological blocks.  These include writers, actors, artists, singers, and other people in the creative fields.  Often, the psychotherapy work involves reclaiming a creative aspect of themselves.

A Creative Block

What Does "Reclaiming Your Creativity" Mean?
The following vignette, which is a composite of many psychotherapy cases to protect confidentiality, is an example of a creative psychological block and how this client was able to reclaim his creativity:

John, who is in his late 30s, is a short story writer.  At the point when he came to see me, he was struggling to complete a book of his short stories.  Every time he sat down at his computer to work on his stories, he was plagued by crushing self doubt.   He would stare at the computer screen for a long time while thoughts swirled around his head, "Who do you think you are, trying to write stories?," "No one's interested in what you have to say," "You can't write" and so on.  After a while, John would walk away from his work, pace around the room, and distract himself with something else before he went back to his writing to try again.

When John came to see me, this pattern was going on for months.  He was feeling more and more anxious and frustrated, and he feared he would never be able to write again.  Accomplished writers that John respected had looked over his work, and they encouraged him to complete the book.  But John was stuck.  He couldn't stop the critical voices in his head long enough to do any more work.

After several sessions of obtaining his personal history, which included an overly critical father who denigrated John's writing as a child, we used a combination of clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing techniques to help John overcome the negative thoughts that kept him creatively blocked. The work wasn't easy for John because there were layers of trauma where John's father shamed him mercilessly.  But over time, John learned to overcome his negative thoughts so they no longer defeated him.  He also developed more confidence and he eventually completed his book and went on to other creative endeavors.

Psychological Blocks Can Occur in Any Endeavor
You don't have to be a writer or an artist to struggle with your creativity.  We all use our creativity every day to come up with ideas and solve problems in our lives.  Self doubt can be just as stifling no matter what you do, draining away your self confidence.  Often, these critical thoughts have their origins in childhood, and as a adults we re-experience them in the form of psychological blocks:
  • the singer whose voice closes up on her when she goes for an audition
  • the office manager who feels like he's about to choke, literally, when he has to give a presentation at work
  • the supervisor who has been asked to come up with a solution to a work problem who feels like she's in a mental fog whenever she and her boss talk about the problem
  • the job applicant who suddenly can't think of his accomplishments when the interviewer asks him about them
  • the broadcast journalist whose presentation is fine--except when she goes on air and she stammers through the broadcast

A Psychological Block to a Solving an Office Problem

Psychological Blocks Can Be Overcome with Clinical Hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing
Psychological blocks can be overcome with a combination of clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing.  No two clinical cases are alike and there's no way to say in advance how the problem will be resolved.  Much will depend on the individual's personal history, the type of problem, if there is trauma involved, and how the individual processes in treatment.  For some people, the problem can be resolved in a matter of months, and for other people it might take longer.  But, generally speaking, I've found the combination of clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing to be much more effective than just regular talk therapy.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist. 

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Photo Credits (in order of appearance):
photo credit: miguelavg via photopin cc
photo credit: drewleavy via photopin cc