Living A Creative Life

Many artists feel stuck at some point in their creative lives. For those who would like to be more artistic, or to be living a creative life, it can be difficult to know where to start. Perhaps you want to pursue some form of art, but are unsure if you have talent. Or, you may have a project in mind, but feel too inhibited to start. You may be meaning to take classes, or determined to pick up that paintbrush or join a singing group, but find yourself not following through. On the other hand, like many artists, perhaps you are struggling to finish your artistic project or feel stuck somewhere in the middle without knowing what is holding you back. You may feel drawn to a freer, more creative way of life, but find that something always gets in the way. Whether you are a professional artist or you pursue creativity as a hobby, it’s common to run into periods of artist block. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy can help you discover what is holding you back and how to be more creative in your life.

What Are Creative Blocks?

Creative people often suffer from a variety of worries and other feelings that inhibit them from fulfilling their artistic dreams. Anxiety and creativity sometimes go hand-in-hand, as can depression and creativity. You may doubt inspiration will strike, or you may lack self-confidence and worry about whether you are good enough or have anything original to say or do. As you approach finishing a project, you may feel anxious about being exposed as a fraud or imposter, or fear that others will reject your work. You may be overwhelmed with anxiety about whether your creative project has any meaning or value. Alternatively, you may be surprised that you feel depressed rather than happy as the finish line approaches. Like many, you may feel anxious about what could replace the sense of involvement and purpose your project has given you. Whether you are wondering where to begin, stuck somewhere in the middle, or approaching a project’s completion, there are many fears and feelings that may be holding you back from the creative outlet you crave.

The creative part of you is powerful and needs to find the right expressive outlet. It is common for people to feel unfulfilled, anxious, or depressed when they remain stuck and unable to channel their creativity. You may also feel misunderstood by friends or family as you struggle to get going or finish up. You may feel lonely or isolated as a result. If you are feeling depressed or anxious as an artist or artistic person, whether your interest is music, visual art, writing, performing, or generally being more creative in your life, psychoanalytic psychotherapy can help you. The process involves overcoming creative blocks so that living a creative life becomes your reality, not your unfulfilled dream.

Society And Attitudes Towards Art

In our time-pressured lives, it can be hard to find the time to follow our creative inclinations, even as hobbies. We live in an achievement-oriented society, and creative pursuits can feel like a waste of time or an indulgence. As society doesn’t often reward artists monetarily, artists often have to choose between financial stability and creative passion. You may feel guilty if you take time away from family or friends to pursue your own creative interests. Even if you do find the time, you may find yourself easily distracted by chores or tasks, TV, the internet, or other forms of electronic communication that offer more immediate gratification. These are common issues that many creative people struggle with and that can be addressed through psychotherapy.

A Psychoanalytic Approach

We tend to think that creative people are either free of anxiety and blocks, or are plagued by alcohol, drug abuse, or mental illness. For some artists, the struggle with emotional issues is relieved by engaging in creative activity. For others, it may be important to get help to explore emotional fears and issues before an artistic project can be started. While being creative does not mean you have to suffer, if you are feeling blocked, fearful, or down, you may be called upon to look at, own, and work with whatever emotional issues are getting in the way of living a full and satisfying life.

The therapeutic process can allow you to explore and better understand your blocks and anxieties, freeing you to live a creative life. The psychotherapy itself is a creative process; two minds work together to discover and create new meanings and perspectives on your life. Emotional issues that inhibit you in your artistic work may also appear in the therapy process itself, giving us the opportunity to see more directly what may be getting in your way. Many people find that childhood experiences contribute to their emotional blocks. Through exploring these issues and mourning the losses that may be associated with them, you will find your emotional life feels richer and freer. As more experiences and emotions become accessible to you, you will be able to understand more about the origins of your blocks and feel better able to accept the variety of feelings associated with creativity. Psychoanalytic therapy can help you feel more comfortable as the imaginative person you are and more fulfilled in your life in general.

A Psychoanalytic Session

I am here to help you find your way through whatever is holding you back in your creative life. I will listen carefully to all your thoughts and feelings, and offer my empathy and understanding. I will work with respect for you as a unique person, with your own particular creative desires and fears. My role is not to pressure you to undertake any specific activity, but to help you discover what being creative means to you and what may be getting in your way. If we decide that bringing in any work or projects—formed or unformed—might be helpful, then that may be an option, but not an obligation. Doing my own psychoanalytic work has helped me explore and confront the inhibitions related to my creativity and enabled me to pursue a freer and fuller life.  My hope is that as we work together collaboratively and creatively, you will develop more self-understanding and acceptance and also feel freer to make the choices that are right for you as you follow your creative passions.


Annie Sweetnam, Ph.D. If you are struggling with issues related to your creative life and would like to explore what is getting in your way. Please call or email me for a free phone consultation.

(510) 531-5212

4236 Edge Drive, Oakland, CA 94602.