Actors Benefit from Therapy to Better Understand Themselves and Their Roles
Being an actor is one of the most powerful, rewarding, and challenging professions. Very few fields offer such a great chance to explore what it means to be human, but on the other hand, few fields require so much introspection and vulnerability.
As an actor, you never know what roles will come your way. You have to be prepared to analyze and understand any character, and then you have to bring that character to life. At times, this can be an emotionally draining ordeal. Many actors are highly empathetic, and the experience of exploring and connecting with your character may feel very real and raw.
Tapping into this emotional side of yourself can be the key to success as an actor. It’s not easy, though. Not only do you have to understand all the nuances of your character, but you have to have a complete understanding of yourself. An actor can spend years trying to gain this self awareness to maximize their creative potential. Some experts will say this is a lifelong process, too, so you never truly arrive at a point where you’ve mastered the art of self-examination.
One of the most valuable but underutilized resources for actors is therapy. Although mental health counseling has become more widely understood and destigmatized in recent years, many people still believe that therapy is only for people with diagnosed disorders who are trying to manage their symptoms. Truthfully, anyone can benefit from counseling, and an actor is a particularly good candidate for the service. In a profession that requires so much self awareness and introspection, therapy for actors is an excellent opportunity to explore your own sense of self with the help of a professional.
Self Awareness Is Key for Actors
An actor fully embodies and portrays a character with the purpose of telling a story. In order to do this, you have to understand all the facets of humanity. You need to know what motivates people, why they make the choices they make, and how they communicate with others. Learning about yourself is the perfect starting point.
Exploring your own experiences and thought processes can give you great insight into how you may explore a character. Your therapist may ask you questions or reframe situations in ways that you’d never considered before, and you can apply these new perspectives to your work.
Understanding Yourself Helps You Understand Your Characters
An actor needs to have an intricate understanding of himself or herself so that they know how their character differs. You should be familiar with your own mannerisms, style of speaking, motivations, and other personality traits. Then, as you get to know your character, you know how you need to change your mindset and your behavior to fully embody that person.
It can be difficult to learn about your personality and your habits by reflecting on your own. These traits are so ingrained in yourself that becoming consciously aware of them is incredibly challenging. Therapists are observant, though, so they may be the best people to point out the subtleties in the way you behave and communicate. By gaining a higher awareness of yourself, you’ll be able to fully let go of your own habits when it’s time to become your character.
Therapy Helps You Handle Emotionally Intense Work Safely
If any of your roles as an actor are particularly emotionally challenging, it’s important that you engage in self-care to protect your own mental health. Telling a dark story can weigh on your mind, especially if you relate to the story or to your character in any way.
Counseling can be a helpful opportunity to process difficult or emotional experiences you’ve had in your work as an actor. If something brings up a strong response within you, you and your therapist can explore the reasons behind your reaction. This can help you connect more closely with your character, but most importantly, it ensures that you maintain a healthy mindset.
Therapy for Actors Empowers You to Grow
Therapy for actors is an effective way to increase your professional success no matter what career you choose. Being an actor is difficult as the work can be inconsistent and the field is so competitive. Working with a therapist can help you develop coping skills for the challenging moments in your career so that you continue to strive to become a better actor.
You and your therapist can define realistic but ambitious goals for your career as an actor, and you can work together to create a plan to achieve those goals. If you encounter any obstacles or setbacks, your counseling session can provide an opportunity to process your frustrations and get motivated to keep moving forward.
What to Expect During Therapy for Actors
Menachem Psychotherapy Group offers therapy for actors in the Los Angeles area. The practice’s founder, Seth Menachem, worked as an actor for 20 years before becoming a therapist. His time as an actor gave him a firsthand understanding of the entertainment industry and the unique challenges that industry professionals face.
Counseling begins with a conversation about your goals and expectations for the experience. Most people attend therapy to maximize their personal growth, and this is true for an actor as well. You and your therapist might discuss how counseling can benefit your work as an actor and bring you closer to your career goals. Your therapist may ask you about your own life experiences, too, so that they can better understand your background.
Everyone’s needs and priorities are different, so your therapist will tailor their approach based on the goals you express. You could discuss specific moments as an actor that have challenged you, or you could explore your responses to other situations in life so that you gain a clearer understanding of yourself.
You should expect to feel challenged during counseling, too. Although the sessions shouldn’t feel completely overwhelming, self-reflection isn’t always comfortable. Your therapist might ask you tough questions or encourage you to explore ideas you’ve never considered before. Therapy for actors is such a valuable opportunity to dive into these difficult topics because it offers a safe, supportive, and private environment.
Working as an actor is challenging yet inspiring. To truly thrive as an actor, you must be able to reflect on your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. By understanding yourself, you create a stronger framework in which you can develop your characters. Therapy for actors offers a supportive and stable environment for you to learn about yourself, which can have immeasurable benefits for your work.
Menachem Psychotherapy Group provides counseling for actors as one of its many specialties. If you’re an actor looking for a therapist in Los Angeles, reach out to us today to learn more about our practice.