I recently was interviewed on two different podcasts about the benefits of creativity to mental health — Unapologetically Sensitive, and Design Your Dream Life. I hope you find them interesting and inspiring. Enjoy!
The subtitle of Julia Cameron's book "The Artist's Way" is: "A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.” This means she talks about God. Kind of a lot.
In my experience leading Artist’s Way groups, first as a coach and later as a therapist, participants have had varying responses to the use of the G-word in the book. For some, thinking about God in the context of creativity feels uncomfortable and too restrictive. For others, the way Cameron describes God in the book is much too lenient for their taste.
Cameron says the letters G-O-D can stand for “good orderly direction.” I would call it “flow.” Some people use “Universe” as a substitute for God. And for some it’s impossible to separate the word “God" from, well, God.
What does it mean to embark on a spiritual path to higher creativity? The answer is as different as each individual’s definition of spirituality. For me, it’s about values. Do I value being rich and famous over authentic artistic expression? Or do I value process over product? Or maybe it’s important for me to balance both of those things.
What embarking on spiritual path isn’t about, in my opinion, is doing things like everyone else. It’s not about copying and pasting and calling it art. It’s about finding my voice and connecting my voice to the larger, universal voice of humanity. That is spiritual for me.
It’s difficult to talk about spirituality because it’s more of a feeling than a thing. Yet I know it when I feel it. And in my Artist’s Way groups I try to foster a sense of belonging, peace, and unity.
Now if I could only find a good word for that...
Registration Opens Aug. 1, 2018
Someone asked me recently what my favorite thing is about my job as a therapist. I said it's facilitating Artist's Way Workshop therapy groups, hands down. I've been leading groups based on the book by Julia Cameron for more than 10 years now, and I look forward to it every time. There's something magical that happens when a group of people gets together to support one another in the service of art and creativity. And the spiritual element of Cameron's book adds a deeper dimension to the process.
I hope you can join us for the next 12-week Artist's Way Workshops in September, 2018, in San Diego. This time there will be both weekend and weekday options. More information: The Artist's Way Workshop
-Rachel Moore, LMFT
P.S. Click here to sign up for email alerts about the next Artist's Way Workshop. Please contact Rachel if you have any questions.
No one talks about how hard it is to be a creative person. Actually, no one talks about how hard it is to do anything. Of course, we talk a lot about how busy we are, and how it's hard to fit everything into the day. But that's just the ego at work; we get kudos for being so industrious. We usually don't get praise, however, for being quiet, thoughtful, and artistic.
After I graduated from my master's program, it took me awhile to decide what I wanted to do next — the 3,000 hours of experience needed before sitting for the therapist licensing exam seemed insurmountable at the time, especially after just completing 2 1/2 years of school. I started a creativity coaching business while I was still school, and I decided to give entrepreneurialism a try. It was a bumpy path. The first business development workshop I went to resulted in me breaking down in tears. No one else was crying; they all seemed to have it together. I didn't get why I was the only one feeling apprehensive and intimidated.
Later I asked a friend about this — we were both part of a co-working organization for women in business. Her reply was: "We all feel scared, but no one talks about it."
I find this is also true for many writers, artists, and musicians. It's sometimes hard to admit to our fears, worries, and anxieties, even to ourselves.
Here's the thing, though — that squishy, vulnerable place we avoid in ourselves is also the seat of our creativity. And when we expose it to the light, it allows others to reveal their vulnerable sides, too. And that connects us. I think this might be the je ne sais quoi of great art. What makes something meaningful is also what makes it scary.
If you're feeling isolated in your creative anxieties, you're not alone. Seek out help and support where you can (one brave woman at that co-working space created a FailCon, where we all got together monthly to talk about our biggest disappointments — it was fantastic). There are other people out there who feel scared, too. I think the best remedy for fear is connection.
No one gets out of here alive, but we can create some beautiful art, relationships, and meaningful exchanges while we're here. Have courage, and know there are others out there who, like you, are looking for a place to call home.
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Rachel Moore, LMFT, is a licensed psychotherapist in San Diego, California. She specializes in helping creative people overcome trauma and anxiety with EMDR therapy. Rachel also facilitates 12-week therapy groups based on the book "The Artist's Way," by Julia Cameron.
More info: www.rachelmoorecounseling.com
Note: We don't spend all of the video sideways! Things get straightened out around the 3-minute mark. ;)
I joined Melissa DaSilva, LICSW, for a fun New Year's chat about being in private practice. Please feel free to check it out if you'd like to learn more about my approach and how I became a therapist.
P.S. Happy New Year! :)
P.P.S. Registration for the next Artist's Way Workshop, beginning February 2018, is now OPEN! Check it out here.
Join us for the 2018 Artist's Way Workshop therapy group. We'll meet for 12 weeks — 10 am-12 pm Sundays, starting Feb. 4. Please click here to add your email to the interest list. Registration opens Jan. 2!
Rachel Moore, LMFT, is now open for business! :-) I have two offices in the Hillcrest/Bankers Hill area. This video is a quick, whirlwind tour of my Tuesday office. Enjoy!
P.S. If you'd like to schedule a free, 15-minute phone consultation with me, please click here.
My friend and fellow clinician, Joel Schwartz, and I recorded a Facebook Live video as a follow-up to my recent blog post about Gabor Maté. Our freewheeling conversation covered lots of topics, including the nature of creativity itself. We also talk about the push-pull dynamic between feeling compelled to express and desiring to hide our creative selves.
Click to 4:30 on the video to get to the start of our conversation. I hope you enjoy!
If you are interested in pursuing psychotherapy with either of us, here is our contact:
Rachel Moore: firstname.lastname@example.org, 619-452-1082, http://www.rachelmoorecounseling.com/
Joel Schwartz: email@example.com (424) 265-8185
By Rachel Moore, LMFT
I was recently invited along with a few dozen other mental health clinicians to a small, salon-style discussion with author Gabor Maté. When I had the opportunity to ask him a question that night, he told me I was wrong. And I’m glad he did.
If you’re not familiar with Maté, he is a renowned Hungarian-Canadian physician who specializes in neurology, psychiatry, psychology, and addiction. His basic premise is the mind and the body are inseparable. Maté’s books include “When the Body Says No: Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection” and “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction.”
Maté is also a Holocaust survivor, and he focuses on the effects of early childhood trauma in disease and addiction. In one interview, he said: “There are genetic predispositions to addictions, but they don’t cause addiction by themselves; they just increase the risk. In both animal and human studies subjects don’t become addicted if they receive the proper nurturing, even in the presence of predisposing genes.”
In this blog post I address my psychotherapist colleagues, though I believe it would also be beneficial for clients and others to take a look at and learn from as well.
I've seen discussions in online psychotherapist groups recently about current events like the Charlottesville rally and the presidential pardon of Joe Arpaio. In these groups, some therapists have encouraged their colleagues to specifically check in with clients who are people of color (POC) about these issues. This seems appropriate to me because part of our responsibility as clinicians is to broach difficult subjects, and race is certainly one of them. It doesn't matter what our particular political views are, but it does matter what our clients think, feel, and experience. White therapists in particular have a responsibility to create an environment where POC clients feel safe to open up.
I was surprised to find some other therapists in these groups disagree with the need to check in with POC clients and/or derail the focus away from race. (I was even more surprised when the administrators of one group deleted a black therapist’s thread and removed her from the group). It seems clear to me there is work to be done in our profession about how to initiate conversations on race because this is a real issue that affects many of our clients directly. The personal is political.
Rachel Moore, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapy in San Diego, CA. Rachel helps writers, artists, musicians, and other creative types overcome anxiety, trauma, and depression. She is trained in EMDR therapy.