Cheryl Arutt, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in creative artist issues, trauma recovery, and other issues.
Creating art has always been a way to channel emotional intensity.
In a world where destructive acting out is all too frequent (and meticulously documented and sensationalized on the news and TMZ), sublimating painful feelings by expressing them in the form of artistic expression allows the artist to choose to “act out” in a way that is constructive.
Many creative people carry the belief that their pain is the locus of their creativity, and worry that they will lose their creativity if they work through their inner conflicts or let go of suffering.
These artists hold onto their pain as if it were a lifeline, even finding ways to enhance it, leading to some patterns of behavior that won’t “turn off” even when they want them to. The “source” becomes the obstacle.
Continued in her article Affect Regulation and the Creative Artist.
Photo: Musician Sting commented in a documentary about the myth of needing to be in pain to create: “I thought so, as most of my contemporaries did; you had to be the struggling artist, the tortured, painful, poetic wreck. I tried that for a while, and to a certain extent that was successful. I was ‘The King of Pain’ after all. I only know that people who are getting into this archetype of the tortured poet end up really torturing themselves to death.”
> From post: Pain and suffering and developing creativity.