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Facing Our Demons And Creating – Part 2

[Continued from Part 1]

Creative work reflects your state of mind

Painter Gayle Stott Lowry also talks about attending a program at the Lucy Daniels Foundation:

“I attended Lucy’s class on Dreams and Creativity, and during a presentation I made to the class about my work, I began to see that changes in my painting were paralleling my personal life and giving me direct feedback about my emotional state.

“My calm landscapes became more melancholy, lighting changed from sunny daylit scenes to sunset, dusk, and eventually, night time.”

[See her photo in Part 1.]

This is one of the values of creative expression for self-awareness and healing: our work can reflect back to us qualities of our state of mind when creating.

Lowry continues, “Today one of my best vehicles of self-discovery is my own creative work. Now I realize the importance of giving myself the grace to follow whatever lead comes to mind, not questioning it too much. I’ve allowed myself to explore my feelings about grief and mortality, and it has been very healing and empowering. I believe that my work on death, loss, and resurrection helps others find the courage to confront their own losses and find hope for transcending them.”

A documentary

Lowry is one of eight artists featured in “Breakthrough” – a film commissioned by the Lucy Daniels Foundation and produced in collaboration with Expressive Media Inc., a non-profit organization founded by arts therapists and analysts Judith Rubin and Eleanor Irwin.

The movie “captures the intimate experience of eight artists who have had psychoanalytic treatment. The film also demonstrates the growth and freedom made possible by facing the pain that both psychoanalysis and creation bring into awareness.”

The image above of a painter is from the movie site.

Related book: The Art of Art Therapy, by Judith Rubin.

Facing demons doesn’t mean killing them off

“I still have pretty much the same fears I had as a kid. I’m not sure I’d want to give them up; a lot of these insecurities fuel the movies I make.” Steven Spielberg

From my post Gifted, Talented, Creative, Anxious.

In his book “Writing from the Inside Out: Transforming Your Psychological Blocks to Release the Writer Within,” therapist Dennis Palumbo lists some of the common anxieties and other demons that creative people confront:

“Writer’s block. Procrastination. Loneliness. Doubt. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Just plain … fear. What do these all mean? What does it say about you if you struggle with these feelings on a daily basis?

“It means you’re a writer. And that’s all it means.

“I ought to know. I’ve been a successful writer for over twenty years, and I’ve spent more than my share of time grappling with most of these feelings. Now, as a psychotherapist specializing in creative issues, I work with new, struggling writers, as well as some of the most successful in the country… And what do they all have in common? See above.”

Palumbo points out that people often think they just need to find the right roadmap to release their creativity.

He writes, “The problem is, most writers…believe that if they just read the right how-to book, took enough writing seminars, got the best therapy, etc., they could get rid of their doubts and and fears, their ‘negative’ feelings and behaviors.”

He notes one of his writer clients expressed it, “I want to just shove all my anxieties, that pain and fear, all that crap out the door. Then I could sit down and write.”

“But write about what?,” Palumbo asks. “Those very feelings we yearn to dispel are the raw materials of our writing, the stuff from which everything we write – including even our desire to write – emerges.”

“I had the feeling therapy was good for my writing very early on.” Filmmaker Agnes Jaoui [From post: Therapy Would Kill My Creativity.]

This article includes only a few examples of creative people who have found that engaging in the challenging and rewarding process of therapy, and being creative, enables them to better understand themselves and be more fully alive.

For more resources, see my article Traumatic Childhood, Creative Adult which includes a number of related articles, such as:
“Art Saved My Life”
SARK on Healing and Creativity
“If You’re So Smart, Why Do You Need Counseling?”
Creative Expression and EMDR to Deal With Trauma, PTSD and Abuse.
On The Couch for More Creativity

– and books including:
Getting Past Your Past
Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation
The Pocket Therapist.

– and link to the page: Counselors and Therapists specializing in high ability, creative people.


Facing Our Demons And Creating – Part 2

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2012). Facing Our Demons And Creating – Part 2. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 10, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Oct 2012
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