Artist Well-Being

Living a life as a performer, a creative artist, or the life of the mind, often feels like a calling rather than a choice. As performers, creatives, and thinkers we experience an intensity of sensitivity and vulnerability that feels profoundly intimate yet foreign to others and to the world we inhabit. This ambiguous ambivalence, a simultaneous intimacy and alienation, is central to my explorations into the experience of living as an artist.

The existential/dynamic tradition of Gestalt psychology has been of particular usefulness to my understanding the how, rather than the why, of creative experience. In my work, I explore the intersections of psychodynamic & Eastern psychologies, existential-phenomenology, Lebensphilosophie, and the creative & performing arts. Searching rather than researching, I am interested in wisdom traditions which focus on experience and insight; on thinking rather than knowing

Attitudes have changed towards the open discussion of the emotional experiences of living the life of a performer, creator, and thinker. Once a taboo topic, today conservatory bookstores feature a section on artist's issues and health. There has also been an opening of professionals who work in mental health, psychology, coaching, and teaching, specifically addressing the issues that creative and performing artists, and thinkers experience. To follow is a list of resources for those who wish to explore these issues independently.

Please contact me for private consultation or group work on performance anxiety and other artist issues. 

Resources for Creative & Performing Artists

Creative & Performing Musicians

Portney Chase, Mildred. Just Being at The Piano: Harmony Begins in the Soul, Long Before the First Note is Played. Los Angeles: Devorss Publications, 2017.

Westney, William. The Perfect Wrong Note: Learning to Trust Your Musical Self. London, Amadeus Press, 2006.

Bernstein, Seymour. With Your Own Two Hands: Self-Discovery Through Music. New York: Manduca Music Publications, 2016.

Nachmanovitch, Stephen. Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art. USA: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1991.

Werner, Kenny. Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Musician Within. New York: Alfred Music, 1998.

Duckworth, Angela. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. New York: Scribner, 2018.

Klickstein, Gerald. The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness. UK: Oxford Press, 2009.

Bruser, Madeline. The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart. USA: Crown, 1999.

Williamon, Aaron. Musical Excellence: Strategies and Techniques to Enhance Performance. UK: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Creative Process

Pressfield, Steven. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles. Efinito Publishing, 2022.

May, Rollo. The Courage to Create. New York: Norton Reprint, 1994.

Rubin, Rick. The Creative Act. New York: Penguin, 2023.

Cameron, Julia. The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. New York: J.P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2002.

Jung, C. G., Chodorow, Joan. Jung on Active Imagination. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1997.

Gelb, Michael. How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci. USA: Delacorte Press, 1998.

Levine, Stephen. Philosophy of Expressive Arts Therapy. United Kingdom: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019. 

Wisdom for Performance Anxiety & Impostor Phenomenon

James, Muriel, Jongewaard, Dorothy. Born to Win: Transactional Analysis with Gestalt Experiments. USA: DaCapo Lifelong Books, 1996.

Trungpa, Chogyam. Mindfulness in Action: Making Friends with Yourself Through Meditation and Everyday Awareness. USA: Shambhala, 2016.

Watts, Alan. The Way of Zen.USA: Vintage Press, 1999.

Epstein, Mark. Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective. New York: Basic Books, 2013.

Yalom, Irvin. The Schopenhauer Cure. Harper Perennial: New York, 2020.

Yalom, Irvin. The Spinoza Problem. New York: Basic Books, 2013.

Shapiro, David. Neurotic Styles. New York: Basic Books, 1973.

Dyer, Wayne. Living Wisdom of the Tao. USA: Hay House, 2008.

James, William. Talks to Teachers on Psychology and Life's Ideals. New York: Dover Reprint, 2001.

Ansbacher, Heinz. The Individual Psychology of Alfre Adler. US: Harper, 1964.

Horney, Karen. Self Analysis. USA: W.W. Norton, 1994.

Dreikurs, Rudolf. Fundamentals of Adlerian Psychology. USA: Adler School of Professional, 1975.

Kishimi, Ichiro, & Koga, Fumitake. The Courage to Be Disliked. USA:Atria, 2024.

Physical Well-being

Roskell, Penolope. The Complete Pianist: From Healthy Technique to Natural Artistry. New York: Alfred, 2022.

Pilafian, S., & Sheridan, P. The Breathing Gym. USA: Focus on Excellence Books, 2002.

Kleinaman, J., Buckoke, P. The Alexander Technique for Musicians. USA: Methuen Drama, 2014.

Mathay, Tobias. The visible and Invisible in Pianoforte Technique. UK: Oxford, 1958.