Philip Ruddy is a Los Angeles-based depth psychotherapist, who previously spent fifteen years as a writer, producer and development executive in Hollywood. He now works with writers, artists and performers, helping them explore and transcend creative blocks, anxiety, depression, and the unique stressors of the film and television industry. He can be reached via his website ActivelyImagine.com.
In this episode, Philip discusses:
-His journey getting to the point he is now as a depth psychotherapist.
-His explanation of what depth psychology is.
-How he is able to tap into his experience as a development executive, screenwriter, and a short story writer in order to understand what other creative people are going through.
-How writer’s block is a personal thing that differs for every person that he works with.
-The notion of befriending your creative blocks.
-The idea of Active Imagination.
-How we imagine the harshest of critics will judge our work, but in reality, if someone doesn’t like your work, they typically just move on.
-The traumatic effect that negative comments from teachers can have, especially at an early age.
-The importance of seeking out a tribe and a group of peers, and not necessarily rely on the influences that your school district had as art teachers.
-Creating a new persona.
-The interplay that happens between your persona and your “true self,” both positive and negative.
-The importance of his clients being sober when coming in for treatment so that they aren’t “unconscious” during the process.
-Why creative people rely on drugs or alcohol to subdue their minds from the constant thoughts, and healthier ways for them to disengage.
-An extremely disheartening experience that he went through in the past, which helps him to relate to his clients today.
-The journey that he took after having his original screenplay taken, which led him to becoming a psychotherapist.
-His masters thesis on transcending writer’s block based on Active Imagination.
-The concept of the “wounded healer.”
-His advice for someone who wants to open a dialogue with his or her blocks.
-How the subconscious part of your psyche that will hold you back from doing work will often have insights that your conscious mind isn’t aware of.
-The importance of creating a friendly and welcoming dialogue with your block and treating it like a guest in your house.
Philip’s Final Push will inspire you to go forth on your Hero’s Journey!
“What’s the personal myth that you are leading your life by?”
“Writer’s block is something that you’re probably going to wrestle with for many years to come if you don’t make a decision to focus on it now and come up with some ways to navigate it.”
“Befriend it so that you can transcend it.”
“The idea is not just to exterminate this writer’s block but to engage it in dialogue. I actually mean that quite literally.”
“Write out a dialogue with this writer’s block and see what it has to say.”
“Writer’s block is often an unexpressed part of ourselves that wants to be heard, so if you actually give it some time and engage it, it will often tell you what it wants of you.”
“We’re often far worse critics than the real flesh-and-blood critics that we encounter.”
“The first creative act is reinventing yourself. Creating your new self as an artist.”
“To reinvent ourselves, to become who we are destined to be, takes an incredible amount of strength.”
“I found that after that experience, I really began to shut down as a writer.”
“I just looked around and I thought I have found my tribe.”
“Going into film production is kind of like the French Foreign Legion. You can literally work 24/7. That job is never over.”
“I went through it myself — that is why I’m able to help others.”
“Sometimes the most effective healers are the ones that have been injured themselves.”
“Don’t invite your critic in while you’re creating.”
“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron
“The Red Book” by Carl Jung
“An Evening with Ray Bradbury – 2001” (YouTube)
“The Hero’s Journey… For Writers, Artists & Performers” (from Philip’s blog)