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The Cause of Creative Blocks and How to Overcome Them

Creative blocks

Creative blocks are a common issue that most people experience and if you are someone that relies on your creativity for supporting yourself, having to deal with these blocks can be frustrating, anxiety producing, and even depressing.

The process of creativity is an uneven one, intermittent with ups and downs, a constant ebb and flow.

Creative blocks may seem like they appear out of nowhere but in reality they are rooted and connected to your emotional health and your emotional reactions to your environment.

Whether we want to admit it or not, the reality of our day to day life leaves a deep print on our psyche; everything that happens with and around us affects us on an emotional level. While there are obvious situations where we can easily determine the causes of a creative block (i.e. the death of a loved one) most times the triggers hide behind the obvious into the obscurity of a lack of self-awareness and aspects of ourselves that appear familiar on the surface, but in fact are not (i.e. expectations, perfectionism).

If your creative blocks are tied into your emotions, the first step you can take is to become self-aware. Take the time to understand what your creative block is trying to tell you about where you are emotionally. I focus on self-awareness in my therapy practice and I see a lot of people who try to resolve their creative blocks by pushing their feelings down and remaining distracted, paying attention anywhere but on the Self. Certainly this approach leads to further blockage and a decrease in self-esteem and confidence as well as an increase in stress levels and anxiety.

It is imperative that you pay attention to your emotions not only for the purpose of releasing that particular creative block but also because doing so has the potential to increase your creativity, by means of putting yourself in touch with your Self.

Self-awareness alone can get you out of the creative block you’re in, although there are situations that can be much more complex than that and require professional attention.

If you have a history of childhood trauma (sexual, emotional, or physical abuse or neglect) self-awareness alone will most likely not be sufficient. In these cases some people will carry their trauma with themselves throughout life and into their career or creative lifestyle. When that happens, your psyche can experience a number of shifts that create gaps, or in this case creative blocks: creativity requires an emotional openness and trauma that has been carried throughout life thrives in isolation and emotional closeness. It is not possible to be able to stay in touch with yourself and be open while your trauma closes you off emotionally.

In such situations (but in other cases too such as moderate to severe mental illness) overcoming creative blocks is possible with the help of depth therapy which is a form of therapy focused on identifying and understanding the root causes of the emotional issues you are dealing with as well as working through them to resolve them, so you don’t have to struggle with that same issue again.

Whichever method you choose to release your creative blocks, make a conscious choice to pay attention to your affect and understand where the problem lies so that you know what you have to do. This might prove an exercise in patience at first and with practice, it can become a healthy habit that has the potential to save you time and frustration down the road of creativity.

Photo Credit: Drew Coffman

The Cause of Creative Blocks and How to Overcome Them

Diana C. Pitaru, M.S., L.P.C.

“Diana” Diana Pitaru is a Romanian psychotherapist in private practice in Denver, Colorado. She writes about universal psychological issues that affect quality of life and impede the creative process. Passionate about psychology, philosophy, art, and culture and how these areas connect to improve mental health, Diana offers support and insight to creative adults and teens who struggle with identity/existential issues and in relationships, have a history of trauma, or suffer with depression or anxiety. You can find her Denver practice at

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APA Reference
, . (2015). The Cause of Creative Blocks and How to Overcome Them. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 12 Feb 2015
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