Category: Psychology

Dancing With Our Unconscious

Dancing With Our Unconscious

Being creative and realizing our talents involves self-awareness and respecting who we really are, including our unconscious depths. In an interview about her film “Flightplan,” Jodie Foster commented, “When you’re a dramatic actor you look for films that hit you in the gut, in this unconscious place that really moves you, and then you can’t […]

Stop being run by your feelings

Stop being run by your feelings

By Morty Lefkoe At one point or another, everyone has uttered the words: “I am happy.”  And: “I am upset.” Notice what happens when you say: “I am [something].” You are describing yourself. Any words that follow the statement “I am” is your description of yourself. Moreover, when we say, “I am [something],” it feels […]

Enhancing Our Creative Flow And Achievement

Enhancing Our Creative Flow And Achievement

Ideas and beliefs can fuel our creative expression – or stifle it. Fiona Apple once talked about a notion that can affect any kind of artist: self-imposed schedules or deadlines. Of course there are often “real” deadlines: a date to submit a book proposal, or to have a collection of artwork ready for a gallery […]

Developing creativity - using our bad thoughts and dark side

Developing creativity – using our bad thoughts and dark side

Our shadow side is the multitude of personality qualities, instincts, urges and thoughts we may be offended by and actively ignore, deny or try to cover up. But this secret or unexplored inner landscape can be a source of personal growth and creative expression. It isn’t a matter of freely acting on our urges or […]

Tripping ourselves up with blind spots

Tripping ourselves up with blind spots

The idea of a mental ‘blind spot’ may imply some kind of deficiency of cognitive ability, but psychologist Madeleine L. Van Hecke argues in her book Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things that even people who are very astute and intellectually capable can suffer lapses in reasonable behavior based on awareness. She argues […]

Oliver Sacks on music and the brain

Oliver Sacks on music and the brain

We engage in creative expression out of many circumstances: a passionate calling to make life more meaningful, or in response to emotional or mental turmoil, or simply a need to earn a living, to survive. In his book “Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain,” neurologist Oliver Sacks describes many of the personal and mental […]

Harvard research: We can think ourselves younger and healthier

Harvard research: We can think ourselves younger and healthier

Harvard Professor Ellen Langer and colleague Alia Crum reported that they took 84 hotel workers and told one group that “the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is good exercise and satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle.” Langer and Crum told the control group nothing. Four weeks later, the control group hadn’t […]

 Directing our feelings and thinking to be more creative

Directing our feelings and thinking to be more creative

Do you remember how much you felt and thought as a child? Probably a lot, especially if you were gifted and creative. As an adult, we may have learned to cover up or set aside much of our inner life, in order to get along with others and do our jobs. But if we want […]

Anger and creativity

Anger and creativity

Actor and Singer/songwriter Melora Hardin said in our interview: “Anger is the best propeller for any kind of action, it really gets you moving. It’s a good thing. A healthy thing. “But I also think a lot of people — like some songwriters I interact with — get really caught in the trap of feeling […]

Perfectionism and Brene Brown on The Gifts of Imperfection

Perfectionism and Brene Brown on The Gifts of Imperfection

Perfectionism can be an unhealthy way to try to satisfy distorted ego needs or defuse shame or low self-esteem, for example – but it is a simple name for what can be a complex set of drives and attitudes that can also fuel our pursuit of excellence and motivate social change. Hilary Swank: “The great […]

Book: “The Creative Mind: Identity and Confidence”

Book: “The Creative Mind: Identity and Confidence”

This is the first title in my planned Creative Mind series, which explores creative talents and creative expression in terms of personal development and psychology. A number of topics are included, such as personality, inspiration, self-concept, high sensitivity, beliefs, mental health and mood, fear and courage. Information from multiple coaches and experts in psychology is […]

Albert Einstein on the numinous and the creative individual

Albert Einstein on the numinous and the creative individual

Albert Einstein wrote in an essay about the mystical or numinous aspects of reality: The most beautiful thing we can experience is the Mysterious — the knowledge of the existence of something unfathomable to us, the manifestation of the most profound reason coupled with the most brilliant beauty. I cannot imagine a God who rewards […]

James C. Kaufman, PhD on creativity research

James C. Kaufman, PhD on creativity research

James C. Kaufman, PhD, is an Associate Professor at California State University, San Bernardino, and a creativity researcher. His books include : The Psychology of Creative Writing Creativity 101. Topics in the interview include the use of mood-altering substances by writers and other artists; the genius myth stereotype; how the idea of a creative muse […]

Performers and Excitabilities

Performers and Excitabilities

“I’m an only child and I’m just a real loner kind of person, and yeah, kinda dark. But I’m happy. Not sad. I’m just shy and nervous… I was a loner in high school. I keep to myself, but I love life.” Actor Clea DuVall  [imdb.com] One of the qualities of many actors, musicians and […]

Bill Harris on formal operational thinking

Bill Harris on formal operational thinking

Formal operational thinking — the ability to think about the thinking process — allows a person to investigate a problem in a systematic manner. … The formal operational person will imagine the possibilities before they begin. They have the cognitive ability to imagine them all, hold them in awareness, and compare them. … But you […]

Allan Snyder on savant syndrome and creativity

Allan Snyder on savant syndrome and creativity

Darold Treffert, MD explains, “Savant Syndrome is a rare, but spectacular, condition in which persons with various developmental disabilities, including Autistic Disorder, have astonishing islands of ability or brilliance that stand in stark, markedly incongruous contrast to the over-all handicap.” From his article The Savant Syndrome: Islands of Genius. Daniel Tammet , as one example, […]

Marge Piercy on myth and reality

Marge Piercy on myth and reality

One of the characters in Marge Piercy‘s novel He, She and It is Malkah, an older woman who writes chimeras, decoy code used to hide sensitive corporate information on the Net. Malkah says, “I cannot always distinguish between myth and reality, because myth forms reality and we act out of what we think we are; […]

The Power of Subconscious Thinking

The Power of Subconscious Thinking

Director Mike Nichols recognizes the value for creative expression of our unconscious depths. “In making movies,” he said, “time is so short — because it is so expensive — that we tend to neglect the place from which the best ideas come, namely that part of ourselves that dreams. “The unconscious is our best collaborator. […]

Entertainment psychology - A Jungian perspective on the feminine in film

Entertainment psychology – A Jungian perspective on the feminine in film

A new look at the Wizard of Oz John Beebe, MD is a Jungian analyst, and co-author, with Virginia Apperson, of the book, The Presence of the Feminine in Film. In a Shrink Rap Radio podcast interview, he talks about how movies bring to life female characters and the feminine aspect of our psyches, whether […]

Shelley Carson on developing creativity

Shelley Carson on developing creativity

Shelley Carson, Ph.D. of Harvard University teaches and conducts research on creativity, psychopathology, and resilience. Topics in our audio podcast interview related to the creative mind and developing creativity include some of Dr. Carson’s seven brain activation patterns she discusses in her book Your Creative Brain. Listen to the podcast: Shelley Carson on enhancing our […]

Video Gaming for Mental Health

Video Gaming for Mental Health

“When the player becomes stressed or fearful, the game will increase in intensity and difficulty. When the player calms himself, the game returns to its default state.” Game designer Erin Reynolds There are many different sorts of video games, and many studies on their psychological and social impacts – research that is often critical or […]

The science of feeling good

The science of feeling good

While psychology has mostly concentrated on mental health disorders and how to deal with them, the field of positive psychology is exploring what helps make us happy and fulfilled – feelings that support our personal development and achievement. The photo is psychologist Jeanne Nakamura appreciating the joking scowling of her colleague Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi of Claremont […]

Your Creative Mind with Learning Differences

Your Creative Mind with Learning Differences

“There were a lot of benefits to being dyslexic for me…I think I came into an appreciation of all those qualities of language…” Novelist Richard Ford The traditional framing of ADHD, dyslexia and some other conditions as “learning disorders” seems to be increasingly challenged by the views of many researchers and artists that these can […]

How we talk about ourselves may keep us afraid to be ourselves

Phyllis (Barbara Stanwyck): We’re both rotten. Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray): Only you’re a little more rotten. [Double Indemnity, 1944] Those sort of critical insults may be fun in movies or novels, but how we think of ourselves – or what we accept others saying about us – can have a deep influence on how we […]

Be more creative - Part 2

Be more creative – Part 2

Articles and other resources for helping you gain new perspectives and be more creative: ideas for enhancing creativity and innovation. ~~~~~~~ The Secret to Creativity: Mike Dillon at TEDxEastsidePrep “Creativity is not some sort of rare magic, it’s actually an infinite resource – and it’s kinda like a virus.” “Mike Dillon’s background spans over three […]

What about intuition?

What about intuition?

Can intuition be a useful extension or complement to rational thought? Many think so. Others caution it can be uncertain and misleading. Author and coach Tama J. Kieves notes we may block intuitive understanding because “It’s hard to let insights in, if we’ve dead bolted the doors. “Sometimes we are begging for clarity, just as […]

Director Joe Wright on His Dyslexia

Director Joe Wright on His Dyslexia

“Because I think visually, not being able to read meant that other parts of my brain were pushed further…” That is a comment by movie director Joe Wright about being dyslexic, from an NPR / All Things Considered show which I found thanks to the Dyslexic Advantage Facebook page of Brock Eide, MD, MA, and […]

Hilda Huang on Bach and video games; Gina Trapani on multitasking

Hilda Huang on Bach and video games; Gina Trapani on multitasking

Creative expression involves many skills and cognitive abilities, which may be enhanced by activities such as video games. And creative performance can enhance skills outside of art. Hilda Huang, 14, is acclaimed for her piano performances of Bach. She made her debut at Carnegie Hall at age 11. This is from a recent interview: Question: […]

Our Shadow Self

Our Shadow Self

Carl Jung: “The shadow is the negative side of the personality, the sum of all those unpleasant qualities we like to hide. … There is no light without shadow and no psychic wholeness without imperfection.” ~ ~ “I think many of us feel like we must wear a happy face all the time and overlook […]

It Can’t Be Done

It Can’t Be Done

By Morty Lefkoe “It can’t be done” is never the truth. What people really are saying when they utter these words is: “I don’t how how to do it.” Or, “it can’t be done the way we’ve always tried in the past.” Or, “it can’t be done according to the only way I can think […]

Restlessness and Jagged Edges

Restlessness and Jagged Edges

“I believe that curiosity, wonder and passion are defining qualities of imaginative minds and great teachers; that restlessness and discontent are vital things; and that intense experience and suffering instruct us in ways that less intense emotions can never do. “I believe, in short, that we are equally beholden to heart and mind, and that […]

Too much pursuit of happiness?

Too much pursuit of happiness?

“I believe the ultimate aim of all human beings is to obtain happiness and a sense of fulfillment.” The Dalai Lama “The effort to try and feel happy is often precisely the thing that makes us miserable.” Oliver Burkeman Seemingly endowed with endless effervescent glee, Drew Barrymore has expressed an attitude about happiness and positive […]

More than conscious thinking in The Secret

More than conscious thinking in The Secret

In her article The Secret Behind The Secret, Susan Fuller reminds us that more than conscious thinking impacts our lives and success: “As The Secret streaks across the planet with dizzying speed, this seems like a good time to revisit this thing called ‘The Law of Attraction’. “Every book on achieving your goals and attracting […]