When I was in the sixth grade I had a gravelly-voiced teacher — I’ll call her “Mrs. Finbar” — who gave an automatic “F” grade to any student who wrote a composition containing even a single incomplete sentence. More than thirty years (and more than half a dozen published books) later, I still don’t think I ever manage to sit down at my computer without the sense that Mrs. Finbar is frowning over my shoulder, ready to pounce on any fragments or run-on sentences.
In The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron calls the Mrs. Finbars of the world our “monsters,” our “old enemies of…creative self-worth,” the nagging voices from our past who keep us from believing we can really be writers or painters or musicians or ingenious reinventors of our own lives. “Creativity is the natural order of life,” she counters, and offers a practical guide to resisting Mrs. Finbar.
Books like Cameron’s can help, but sometimes all the books and affirmations just don’t help you still those nagging, critical voices. You’re stuck. Maybe you’re wondering whether a therapist could help.
“I doubt it,” people sometimes tell me. “Therapy would ruin my creativity.”
“It depends on the therapy,” I reply.
A therapist who takes a collaborative, experiential approach can help create a nurturing process that is as vibrant as improv theater, as spontaneous as dance. She or he helps you feel deeply understood and alive. Suddenly you’re not alone with your struggle. You gain a felt sense that the creative part of you is valuable and strong. The images and ideas begin to flow.