emotional wellness

Therapy for Artists, Creatives, and Entertainers in NYC

“Art is not always about pretty things. It’s about who we are, what happened to us, and how our lives are affected.”

— Elizabeth Broun

We Specialize in Therapy for Artists, Creatives, and Entertainers in NYC

Amidst the crowds of NYC, trying to stand out as an artist can feel like shouting into the wind.

Unlike a small town in the Midwest, life in NYC is fast-paced and extremely competitive. Artists, creatives, and entertainers in the Big Apple face an insulated industry and a high cost of living. You have to be constantly on the move, searching for meaningful work to pay your bills while pursuing your art in between gigs.

Pursuing a career in the creative field can seem like an idyllic affair to outsiders, but those within know that it can be incredibly isolating and frustrating. The efforts of artists, creatives, and entertainers are rarely fully appreciated or respected — family members and friends may not approve of your professional choices, unaware of the struggles you face.

Creative work can exact a substantial toll, not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. Time spent hunched over a desk, hauling heavy but necessary equipment, or rehearsing day and night does have its downsides, like repetitive strain injuries and erratic sleep schedules made worse by the unpredictability of gig culture. Many independent artists also juggle a day job with their creative endeavors to support themselves financially, doubling the stress they’re under.

Mental hurdles like writer’s block, performance anxiety, or impostor syndrome can also make it difficult to put out work that you’re proud to release into the world. The myriad mental difficulties artists often face can lead to higher-than-average rates of mood disorders like bipolar disorder, depression, and others.

It can be difficult to reconcile these difficulties with your professional work — you might find yourself musing, “I pursued my passion for creativity, so shouldn’t I be happy right now?” Struggling can make you feel guilty or ashamed, but in truth, you’re not alone.

What Challenges Do Artists, Creatives, and Entertainers Often Face?

Regardless of what you specialize in as a creative professional — be it illustrating, painting, writing, filmmaking, designing, sewing, producing music, playing an instrument, singing, performing on stage, or something else — there are a few challenges that many artists, creatives, or entertainers can sympathize with, such as: 

  • Creative blocks — Creativity can be amorphous and fleeting. One day, you could be bursting at the seams with ideas. The next, you might be unable to bring them to life — a painter constantly going over the same spots, a writer unable to progress the plot, or an actor unable to get into a character’s head. Personal problems and other distractions can hamper your ability to harness your creativity and it’s often a struggle to get over the block. 

  • Performance anxiety — A fear of performing in front of others can prevent you from doing what you love and hinder your professional career. Performance anxiety can also negatively affect your self-confidence and self-esteem

  • Self-doubt and imposter syndrome — No matter the level of success you reach or how skilled you are, there may still be a constant stream of “Why am I here? Am I even worthy of what people pay me for? Is the art I produce even that good? Am I good enough?” running in the back of your mind. Imposter syndrome can impact your self-esteem and cause you to dislike or fear your work instead of enjoying it.

  • Comparing yourself to others — Keeping your skills sharp requires constant practice. It can be disheartening to keep working at improving your skills and talents, only to see others who have achieved the same (or higher) level of skill in a much smaller time window. When you have to constantly keep training, working, and putting yourself out there until you finally land the project you want, it’s hard to keep your chin up and stop comparing yourself to others.

  • Handling rejection — You can’t please everyone, that’s true. Given the unique nature of creative industries, you may face opportunities for rejection more often than the average person. Not getting the outcome you want from an audition, editor, client or audience can be discouraging and upsetting.

  • Financial health — With today’s ever-increasing prices, the budget for your projects can be a huge hindrance, especially for those in theater and film. You might not have a good workspace and the ideal equipment and materials, or face practical time constraints. There are also everyday necessities like rent and food to worry about, requiring careful balancing for your artistic projects.  

  • Balancing public image — If you’ve successfully grown a fanbase, regardless of how small or large it is, you may feel a responsibility towards them, especially if they contribute to your livelihood. It can be difficult to stay true to your original vision while trying to appease fans’ desires. It’s a tug-of-war between what feels true to your values and what you need to do to sustain your career.

  • Relationship issues — Pursuing your dream may cause friction in your relationships. If your loved ones expected you to go down a more traditional or what they perceive to be a “safe” career path, you may have difficulty relating to them. If your job involves a lot of traveling, it can be challenging to maintain relationships back home. A certain degree of fame can also hamper your ability to form meaningful relationships. You might feel like you can no longer be an authentic version of yourself, instead constantly matching others’ expectations of you.     

  • Body image issues — When you’re up on stage and performing in front of an audience, the spotlight can magnify your self-doubt, especially when it comes to your body image. The unrealistic standard of “perfect” dictated by the media can put significant pressure on performers that don’t fit the size zero mold. This can put one at risk for developing an unhealthy relationship with food, or disordered eating.

  • The mentality of “suffering for your art” —  The trope of the “starving artist” is a common yet dangerous one. It posits that creativity is born and enriched by the suffering that geniuses often experience, mistakenly romanticizing mental anguish and encouraging burnout and other unhealthy habits. Some artists might have grown used to thinking they have to suffer for their art to be considered “good.”

If you find that these challenges (or others similar to them) have made it difficult to enjoy your daily life and your creative work as you once did, you may want to consider seeking therapy.

THERAPISTS WHO CAN HELP

NYC Therapists Who Specialize in Therapy for Artists, Creatives, and Entertainers in NYC

Connecting with the right therapist is the most important factor in your search. We’re here to help you find a great match.

How Therapy Can Help Artists, Creatives, and Entertainers in NYC

What Does Therapy for Artists, Creatives, and Entertainers Look Like?

Therapy is never one-size-fits-all. Therapy meant for artists, creatives, and entertainers seeks to understand the challenges of life as a creative New York City professional and works to address them in a way that respects your passions, motivations, and identity. 

If you’re afraid of criticism, a skilled therapist can equip you with coping mechanisms to lessen harsh self-judgment and handle criticism better. If you’re stuck because of perfectionism and the unrealistic standards you’ve set for yourself, a therapist can help you explore the parts of your standards and processes that actually help you and eliminate the ones that don’t. If you’re struggling with feelings of inauthenticity, inadequacy, or low self-confidence, a therapist can provide a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere to explore your feelings, anxiety, doubts, and fears.

Regardless of what issues you’re struggling with, your therapist can and will work with you to determine what the best approach to therapy will be. 

What If I’m Not Ready To Start Therapy?

Starting therapy is often a difficult decision. If you’re not ready yet, here are some helpful tips: 

  • Find a community — If opening up to your loved ones is too difficult, you can consider joining online or local groups, such as Arts Anonymous. Connecting with other like-minded individuals who understand what you’re going through can be helpful when you face your issues.

  • Pick up other hobbies — If you’re unable to express yourself through your usual creative avenues, you might find enjoyment in picking up other hobbies (e.g. cooking, gardening, fishing, pottery, rock climbing, etc.) that give you an outlet without being hindered by a creativity block. 

  • Evaluate your lifestyle — Do you often rely on caffeine or sugar to get you through a performance? Do you pull frequent all-nighters just to get projects done in time? Does your profession involve sitting or standing for long periods? A healthy diet, consistent sleeping schedule, and regular exercise can help with regulating your mood and energy. 

Want Help To Rekindle Your Creativity?

Get in touch today.

Struggles with your emotions and relationships can put a frustrating barrier between you and your career and personal goals. Reach out for a free 30-minute consultation with a therapist who specializes in therapy for artists, creatives, and entertainers in NYC today.

 

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Amy Schell, LMHC
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Ariel Zeigler, Ph.D
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Caryn Moore, LCSW
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Christina Mancuso, LCSW
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Courtney Cohen, LMHC
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Daniel Rich, LMHC
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Dimitri Mellos, Ph.D
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Elena Beharry, Psy.D
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Eliza Chamblin, LCSW
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Fanny Ng, Ph.D
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Gary Brucato, Ph.D
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Gavin Shafron, Ph.D
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Jen Oddo, LMSW
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Joanna Kaminski, LMFT
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Josh Watson, LMSW
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Justin L.F. Yong, LMHC
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Kristin Anderson, LCSW
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Logan Jones, Psy.D
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Lucas Saiter, LMHC
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Melanie Palmietto, LMHC
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Monica Amorosi, LMHC
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Peter Gradilone, LMSW
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Salima Ndoye, LMFT
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