Performance Psychology Consulting
You know how some musicians experience self-doubt and tension during performances? Their artistic vision is compromised and they feel anxiety, and aren’t able to share their gifts with their audience.
What I do is help musicians and other performing artists train their thoughts and body to perform under pressure, which means that they can feel centered, alive, and engaged during performances. All of their technical preparation shines through in brilliant and creative performances.
I began playing violin when I was 4 years old and I experienced my first bout of “stage fright” when I was in 4th grade and refused to get onstage and perform “The Little Drummer Boy” with my best friends. Later on, I learned how to prepare my music adequately from a technical and conceptual basis and enjoyed some success as a chamber and orchestra musician in college and graduate school. I even enjoyed a full fellowship to the Texas Music Festival for two summers as an undergraduate. Unfortunately, my performances under pressure were sometimes compromised by a sense of shakiness, tension, and worries about making a mistake.
I decided as a high schooler not to major in music or pursue a career in music, and to major in neuroscience (BA), cognitive psychology and neuroscience (PhD) and Clinical Psychology (Certificate of Respecialization). My Internship and Post-doctoral work in Clinical Psychology focused a great deal on helping clients realize their strengths, learn to challenge distorted thoughts, and work on habits that were disrupting their goals. Meanwhile, I have continued to be active as a non-professional musician in orchestras, chamber groups, and solo performances. I am married to a professional classical musician, and have experienced (second-hand!) the agony and ecstasy of professional auditions and high-stakes professional performances.
I have performed in recitals, in string quartets and other chamber groups, as a section violinist and as a concertmaster. The more I learn about psychology and how my thoughts and body contribute to performances, the more comfortable I have been performing. I wish I had been exposed to more formal training in performance psychology. I believe that my musical experiences would have been much more enjoyable and successful if I had trained earlier in performance psychology.
Through brief consultation (typically 3-6 sessions) I can help you prepare the essential mental and physical skills for expert performance. These skills are of use to anyone who finds themselves in high-pressure situations (public speaking, athletes, performing artists at all levels, test taking). If you want to enhance your performance, I can help you with an individualized plan that plays to your strengths, and identifies your limitations. Using evidence-based practices for relaxation training, cognitive and behavioral strategies we can work together in preparation for an upcoming performance. I think you’ll find that our sessions can be fun, engaging, and intellectually stimulating.
A typical person interested in performance psychology consulting will pay for their sessions out-of-pocket. Occasionally a client meets diagnostic criteria for an anxiety or other disorder, in which case I am happy to provide referrals for psychotherapy services I am a licensed psychologist in CT and RI.