Creative Arts and Artist-specific Issues

I conducted years of research on performing arts psychology, creativity, and fame in preparation for my dissertation. Having been born and raised in Los Angeles, I have had a wide variety of experiences with actors, performers, and creative professionals throughout my life.

As a therapist, I enjoy working with actors and other creative professionals. I am interested in helping actors and other creative artists unlock the doors to other parts of themselves so they can experience greater freedom of expression and develop greater range, emotionally, artistically, and spiritually.

Some quotes that profoundly influence my understanding of and work with actors:

“If actors sometimes seem nervous, tense, hyperactive, eager to make a fast impression, those seem to me to be sane responses to an insane working environment.”
This comes from Brian Bates’ book The Way of the Actor, 1988, p. 60. It’s self-explanatory to anyone who works in the entertainment industry, especially to actors.

“One has to be somebody before one can be somebody else.”
This comes from Dr. Franklin’s 2003 Doctoral Dissertation entitled Breaking a Leg Without Breaking the Spirit: An Exploration of Actors’ Psychospirituality, and adapted from Engler’s 1993 article entitled “Becoming somebody and nobody: Psychoanalysis and Buddhism” in Roger Walsh’s & Frances Vaughan’s Paths Beyond Ego. The original quote is “One has to be somebody before one can be nobody.” Engler famously used this quote to address the role of what is known in psychological terms as the ego, or self. It is important to have a strong ego or solid sense of self (“somebody”) before transcending ego or moving into states of consciousness that dissolve self. Likewise, for actors, knowing who you are provides the stability that allows you to immerse yourselves completely in character roles yet be able to come back “main” at the end of the day.

Through my research, I was offered the opportunity to audit acting classes, sit in on auditions, and interact with actors. What I learned about being an actor comes as much from those adjunct experiences as it did from the surveys I collected from the actors who participated in my research.

My Dissertation

I completed my dissertation entitled “Breaking a Leg Without Breaking the Spirit: An Exploration of Actors’ Psychospirituality” in 2003. It was a study exploring the psychospirituality of 116 professional actors by gathering data about their emotionality, self-actualizing tendencies, and spirituality through written surveys. This study was a correlational study using the quantitative data that was obtained. Other qualitative data obtained from participants provided insight into how actors relate to their craft and make meaning of their acting experiences. This data has yet to be analyzed and published. If you would like to read obtain a copy of Dr. Franklin’s dissertation, you may do so by contacting UMI.