What would you help me with if I came to see you?

Performers come to see me for many reasons:

  • Countless performers want the opportunity to learn what’s preventing them from living up to their performance potential.
  • Many seek help because they are experiencing stage fright, audition concerns, showmances, rejection, competition, and other performance-related challenges.
  • Financial, employment and geographic lifestyle issues motivate others to look for support.
  • Many look to Psychological Coaching because they feel abused by lack of collegial support and public recognition. Some question their willingness to remain in a profession that is often more painful than pleasurable.
  • Others come to see me under duress – their careers are endangered by their own inappropriate attitudes, demeanor and behavior. 
  • Performers also pursue Psychological Coaching to focus on an entire range of personal problems. Depression, self-esteem issues, anxieties, addictions, relationship challenges, and sexual confusion are frequent areas of attention. Of course, these same issues are experienced by those who are not professional performers. It is, however, the ways that these personal problems affect and reflect in performance and their profession that is unique to the performing artist.


When do performers choose to come in to work with you?

Although there is often a precipitating event or situation that causes a performer to come to see me, most artists, in fact, want to address more arching and profound personal conflicts and professional challenges. Some seek Psychological Coaching because they are stuck and know that they are holding themselves back from getting what that want. Some don’t know what they want. Still others come because they’re almost getting what they want, both personally and professionally, and yet constantly fall short. Others recognize that they have it but are afraid to try. Several know that they have genius within and struggle to do what’s necessary to be the best they can be. However, everyone who comes into my office or who is a participant in my Performance Potential Master Classes believes that they are not reaching their performance potential. They are aware, to some degree, that they have more personal and professional gifts to share, more inside to give, more to express…that something is missing, and that they want to perform better. My hope, for performers who engage with me in Psychological Coaching, is for them to become connected with who they are as artists and as people, with what they are doing and how they are performing… empowered to live the performance potential that is unique to them both on stage and off.

Empowerment is a concept so frequently used today. What does it mean to you?

Empowerment is creative and alive.  It is the lifelong process of developing conscious awareness and fearlessly, actively choosing to:  1)  think supportive, possibility-focused thoughts and beliefs, 2)  feel joyful, passion-filled, life-sustaining emotions and 3)  perform in ways that create the lives that you want to live both on stage and off.  

Are performers different from other people?
  • Because of my intense and exclusive work with performing artists, I am often asked if performers are different from other people. And, although my personal philosophy is one of synthesis… that we are connected, more alike than we are different,I surprisingly conclude that “Yes. They are different.” And, it’s not because of challenging and vast variances in lifestyles.
  • It’s because of the passion, purpose, values and vision they have when they are little people. They know who they are, what they want and frequently pursue their dreams before most of us have reached puberty.
  • How many lawyers, doctors, fireman, teachers or other people that we know are aware of what they want to do in their lives or much less begin following it at age three, ten or eight years old? Yet, musicians, dancers, many actors and singers practice their art form, often as early as ten, eight or even as young as three years of age.
  • Imagine what an enormous physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual difference this makes in their formative years and psychological development. This alone makes them different as, for most of their lives, they have seen the world from the eyes of their piano or horn or their ballet or tap shoes or from various songs and lyrics, monologues or memorable roles and dramatic scenes. Furthermore, the choices they have made have been passion driven by their art.”
  • I believe that I have the best ‘job’ in the world because I am fortunate to engage with people whose life-defining work, in Hamlet’s words, “holds a mirror up to life.”
Why did you become a specialist in the psychology of the performing artist?

No performing artist wants to experience the heartbreaking thought of not performing anymore. I know. My heart was broken. I wanted to be a professional singer. From a very early age, I had perfect pitch and a natural ability to interpret music. I could sing anything… blues, pop, musical theater, jazz, but my real passion was opera. I started performing professionally at age 19. My stage name… Elma LINZ. Then… I imploded. I developed insidious stage fright. I would open my mouth to sing only to produce silence. Initially, I thought… this must be a physical problem. So, I had extensive and expensive ENT visits and, of course, my cords were whistle clean. It wasn’t a physical problem. Then, I must be doing something wrong with my voice… “technique” which was not in the jargon way back then. But I took myself to the best voice teacher in town to learn to sing differently.  However, I was unable to phonate and would hyperventilate when I tried.  Mr. La Flavia suggested that I seek professional help of another kind. I did … but there was no one who understood a heartbroken performer, much less the particular psychology of the performing artist. I was diagnosed with an “adjustment reaction” and told that all I needed to do was accommodate to and accept my life. No one even questioned that I might be living the wrong life. It took me years of getting to know myself and to gain the conscious awareness that losing my voice in song was a symptom, or even a metaphor, for having lost my voice in my life. This experience and realization, while devastating, was also transformational. I found my voice and chose to use it as a psychotherapist and coach to help performing artists voice themselves in their lives both on stage and off.

Will I lose my creativity if I'm not crazy anymore?

Throughout my work with performing artists, I hear the same question repeatedly: Will I lose my creativity when I solve my problems and overcome my challenges? This is understandably a most common and compelling concern. Change for anyone can be a daunting possibility. However, change for a performing artist can be an even more uncomfortable, difficult, and frightening prospect. Many performers believe that their problems, that their “crazies,” are the basis for their artistic creativity, and that if they become “crazy” free, they will lose their imaginative force and no longer be a unique talent. The truth… the reality… is compelling and reassuring, as well. Inner harmony is the foundation of creativity. Knowing yourself, your purpose and passions, your values and your vision, affords you the opportunity and the freedom to interpret your art with clarity and distinction. When you succeed in your therapy, your artistic vision is clearer, your imagination is bigger, your inspiration becomes stronger, and your performance potential is fulfilled. I can joyfully and reassuringly say… the outcome is quite the opposite from the concern. You will be even more creative when you are in harmony with yourself.