Creative Blocks and Counseling

“The music world in 1978, ’79, I don’t think was ready for [Kate Bush], but she did it anyway, and that was admirable to me as a musician,” Mirah said. She, too, sometimes has a long hiatus and articulates her identification with Kate Bush. “It’s inspiring to me to feel like:  See, it is possible, you can just wait until the music comes, and that’s O.K.”  Mirah, a Brooklyn indie singer-songwriter, sums up hear the inspiration we can get from fellow artists.  We all take our own time and even Kate Bush's three decades of pause (she has returned to the London stage for a sold-out run) can feel like a blink of an eye when the music from those years sounds that avant-garde.  She truly took risks, and oftentimes that kind of artistic risk taking takes time.

In his 8/23/14 NYT article "On Not Writing," Bill Hayes expresses his break from writing this way:  "I hadn’t given up writing deliberately, and I cannot pinpoint a particular day when my not-writing period started, any more than one can say the moment when one is overtaken by sleep: It’s only after you wake that you realize how long you were out. Nor did I feel blocked at first. Lines would come to me then slip away, like a dog that loses interest in how you are petting it and seeks another hand. This goes both ways. When I lost interest in them, the lines gradually stopped coming. Before I knew it, two years had passed with scarcely a word."  

But he is able to relate the experience to fitness training.  "I had been working out as long as I had been writing, so this last principle was not new to me. Overtraining without taking days off can lead to injuries, chronic fatigue and, frankly, pain. But I had never observed this rule very strictly when it came to working on a piece of writing. Just as the body needs time to rest, so too does an essay, story, chapter, poem, book or a single page."

As a psychotherapist in New York often working with artists and their creative cycles, and as a theater artist myself, I too find solace in the idea of acceptance of differing rhythms.  There are ways, and I believe counseling is one of them, to come to terms with artistic pace.  And ideally, in it's own time, I believe there is a way to come-- not just to terms-- but to artistic creation.



Anna is a psychotherapist and actor in New York who provides counseling for individuals, couples therapy, relationship counseling, sex therapy, life coaching, career coaching, family therapy and group therapy.

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