Acting: It’s a career, not a diagnosis

by Jan 1, 2013Acting, Bad psychotherapy, Finding a Therapist

Attention mental health workers everywhere. Here’s some unsolicited supervision from a actress who cashed in her chips 20 years ago and became a psychotherapist.

Acting is a career choice, not a diagnosis of unmet childhood narcissistic needs. Good acting channels the writer’s words through the mind, heart and imagination of the actor through the medium of voice and movement to an audience. One hand reaches back to the script or screen writer, one hand reaches forward to the audience. Actors use their own emotional life to enliven an audience. These aren’t false selves that get created. These are fictional characters breathing real emotions.

It takes a particular strength to keep on keeping on in the face of a week of rejections or worse, a week without auditions. One thing actors don’t need is a subtle or not so subtle diss coming from their therapists.

Acting also demands a vagabond lifestyle which can be exciting in some ways and difficult in others. So actors need therapists who are flexible and know how to work by phone or skype.

More people are viewing work the way actors do: seeking it all the time; knowing your specialties and your worth; publishing your journey; keeping in touch with everyone. Sound familiar? Actors have been doing it for years.

Rant over.

Elizabeth Singer is a therapist and anger management specialist in New York City

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