Do you consider yourself creative?
If you do, you've probably found that you experience the world differently from others. Being a creative myself, I'm intrigued by our unique issues. People like us tend to think outside of the box, ride the edge, go to extremes, create new forms and structures. Striving to express ourselves, we often encounter internal blocks and external resistance. This can interrupt the creative flow and lead to periods of anxiety and mood disturbance. Having the support and counsel of an experienced professional who knows this terrain can be mentally and emotionally sustaining through these dark nights of the soul.
Creatives need like-minded people who understand what moves us.
We are sensitive and see the world through different lenses than other people. My psychology background brings awareness and understanding of the creative mind, forging strong connections with clients for whom the inspiration of art can serve as a therapy to release anxiety and sadness.
While helping my clients over the years, I've developed a useful approach for infusing my work in psychology with the passion I feel for music and art. Think of our sessions as a new outlet, a safe place where you can express yourself as you do through your artistic medium of choice.
I received a doctorate in clinical psychology from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. My doctoral dissertation, a theoretical monograph titled, “Light in the Darkness: An Asset Model of Depression,” viewed depression in a new light, as an experience capable of transforming the sufferer and bestowing creative gifts of unusual imaginative power and sublime beauty. In researching and writing deeply about depression, I had unknowingly studied the creative mind.
Now that I have landed, it is my goal to contribute to the music and arts community of Austin. I plan to do this in two ways: as a psychologist and as a musician. I have vast background and professional training of helping others who are experiencing emotional distress. Through nearly 20 years of clinical work, I have learned a great deal about assisting others with their psychological difficulties, guiding them through difficult times, and fostering their personal growth. I always felt a certain kinship and affinity with the artists and creative individuals I treated. I discovered that I seemed to click and be more helpful to like-minded people—namely, free-thinking musicians and artists like myself.
How Does Creativity Work?
My own direct knowledge and examination of the creative process has provided an invaluable tool in understanding how creativity works: where it comes from, what promotes and inhibits it. When resolving problems, “trying” is often counterproductive if one is obsessing. But that doesn’t mean you don’t work, just sitting there passively. Yes, you work.
Sometimes relaxing and letting things arise naturally of their own accord often yields the best results. When you really get down to it, as an artist you are a channeler, and things pass through you like a gateway.
You can’t be a channeler unless you’re tapped in, and you can’t tap in until you’ve reached some place that you’ve worked or strive for. As the German artist Albrecht Dürer once famously wrote, “Art without practice remains hidden.”
-- Dr. D L Shaw