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More Performance Advice from Dr. Maisel

If you were behind stage with a singer who was dreading their performance, what tricks would you pull out your bag to help them out?

Oh, you mean right in the moment? In the moment it would have to be something active and quick—maybe a “discharge technique” like silent screaming, a “reorienting technique” like turning away from the audience and glancing at some ad on the green room bulletin board, a simple breathing technique or, better yet, a breathing-and-thinking technique

of the sort that I describe in my book Ten Zen Seconds, maybe some quick disidentification work to remind the performer that she isn’t her performance, maybe a simple relaxation techniques, as simple as a shoulder rub … there are plenty of things to try! I cover them all in two of my books, Mastering Creative Anxiety and Performance Anxiety.

So, what makes your message different to the therapist down the street?

Well, I don’t do therapy ☺, although I am a licensed psychotherapist. I don’t much believe in the underlying idea of therapy—that is, the idea of “diagnosing and treating mental disorders.” Rather, I coach. And I coach in a special way, blending and making use of creativity coaching ideas (I founded that profession) and natural psychology ideas about creating and maintaining meaning (I developed natural psychology, too, because it was needed!).

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