Crystal Spiegel, LCSW 303 5th Avenue, NY 646-846-2947
Maybe you feel lonely because of how different you are from most people. Perhaps you struggle to connect with non-artists and feel patronized by them. When people find out you’re an artist, they might ask “Do you make any money?” or “Where’s the value in that?” You may feel like there’s no place for you in a capitalist society hell-bent on money, success, and 24/7 hustle.
You May Struggle With Anxiety, Perfectionism, And Loneliness
Because of how isolated and misunderstood you feel, your desire for artistic success may grow more and more intense. Your feelings of exclusion could put pressure on you to “prove” that your artistic struggle is worth it. As a result, you may be extra hard on yourself when your art doesn’t live up to your expectations. Your desire for perfection could lead to anxiety and feelings of self-loathing.
Deep down, you probably wish you had someone to talk to who understood your struggles and could validate all the hard work you’ve done. If this is the case, I would be honored to be that person. In therapy for artists, you have the chance to be heard, seen, and appreciated for who you are and what you’ve accomplished.
Many Artists Feel Excluded From Our Culture’s Narrative Of Corporate Success
Our culture as a whole values left-brained thinkers—scientists, doctors, politicians, and people who are highly rational and analytical. It has little room for those who are right-brained and more creative by nature. Artists and creatives do not fit the cultural narrative of capitalistic, climb-the- corporate-ladder success. They aren’t seen as useful because their contributions to society are intangible, too deep to measure or put a number on.
Think about it this way: if your passion is for science and medicine, you can fairly easily land a job in either field. But if your passion is for dance, literature, or visual art, it is extremely hard to make money doing what you love. Even if you write a best-selling novel, you still don’t know when (if ever) your next big break will come. As a result, you may feel pressured to put your art on the back-burner and settle for a job that’s seen as “useful” by society.
Artists Often Feel Like They Have To Prove Themselves To Everyone Else In Society
The “othering” of artists in our culture usually does one of two things: it leads artists to give up doing what they love or intensifies the pressure to be the best at what they do. Many artists feel compelled to prove to everyone else that what they’re doing is worthwhile. All that time spent toiling away in isolation, meticulously honing their craft—what if it’s all for nothing? What if they don’t achieve success and notoriety? These are the questions that drive their anxiety and perfectionism.
This is why every artist needs a calm, safe place to talk about their struggles. What you’re doing is not meaningless and you do not have to define your self-worth according to your accomplishments alone. Therapy is a chance to decrease your stress and breathe new life into your artwork.
Therapy Can Help Artists Find Comfort And Validation In The Midst Of Uncertainty
Let’s face it: as an artist who’s serious about your craft, part of you probably says “I’m okay the way I am” and another part says “I can’t accept who I am.” Part of you feels unique and spectacular and another part feels like you don’t belong anywhere. In the midst of these conflicting messages, you may feel compelled to choose one narrative over another. Therapy provides a space to honor the parts of yourself that are in conflict. Instead of resigning yourself entirely to one viewpoint, you can learn that it’s okay to feel conflicted and uncertain. You don’t need to have all the answers. My goal is to meet you wherever you are in life and provide comfort and validation in the midst of your uncertainty.
Let Me Help You Renew Your Sense Of Purpose And Achieve Your Dreams
Being an artist can be lonely. You deserve to have someone in your life who appreciates the hard work you do and motivates you to keep pursuing your dreams. To connect with me, you can email me or call 212-810-6761 for a free 15-minute phone consultation.
Although counseling looks different for each artist, one of the basic approaches underlying my practice is called Internal Family Systems (IFS). This approach seeks to help you dialogue with all of your self-parts—the parts that believe your art is worthwhile and the parts that doubt yourself, the parts that accept yourself and the parts that don’t, etc. IFS can also help you deconstruct negative messages about your place in the world as an artist. You can experience greater self-acceptance and decrease the pressure on your creative parts. In the end, my hope is that you will experience the validation and peace of mind you need to feel good about yourself on your journey of creativity. With my support, I am confident that you can renew your sense of artistic purpose and learn to love yourself no matter where you are in life.
You May Have Some Questions About Therapy For Artists And Creatives…
Is art actually important enough that I should seek therapy for it?
The idea that art is not as useful as science, math, psychology and other subjects is a lie manufactured by our highly utilitarian society. Sadly, many artists internalize this lie and come to believe that what they’re doing is not important. But the arts are essential to our humanity—they remind us of who we are and can give us hope for the future. Whether you’re a musician, dancer, writer, or visual artist, therapy can help you see the value in what you do and stay on track with your artistic goals.
People will never understand me anyway, so why should I bother trying to feel better?
You can’t control what other people think or say. But you can control how you respond to them, both internally and externally. Therapy can help you come to a place of self-acceptance and experience peace about your situation. When this happens, it becomes easier to manage the things other people say to you.
How long will therapy take?
The length of therapy varies from client to client. It all depends on what your needs and goals are. If you want to learn practical skills for reducing anxiety or enhancing your focus, counseling may be short-term. But if you want to explore the deeper purpose behind your art and make peace with all of your self-parts, the journey may be longer and more in-depth.
One of the main focuses of therapy for artists is helping you deal with the rejection and misunderstanding you may experience in the outside world. Together, we will explore how you can interact with non-artists and non-creatives who don’t understand what it’s like to be you. Maybe you grew up in a family that doesn’t fully respect your life as an artist. Or by the same token, perhaps your family is extremely creative and your parents are successful artists. In either case, EMDR therapy or IFS therapy may help you manage the social pressures that other people have created.
Additionally, sometimes therapy has less to do with other people and more to do with your art itself. Perhaps you’re a musician or actor who’s wrestling with performance anxiety. Or maybe you’re going through a dry spell and dealing with lack of inspiration. Counseling can help you get to the bottom of your creative blockages, overcome performance stress, and find your flow again.
Copyright © 2023 Crystal Spiegel, LCSW-EMDR and IFS Therapy - All Rights Reserved.