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The Van Gogh Blues

by Eric Maisel

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1412154,152 (4.22)1
Creative people will experience depression--that's a given. It's a given because they are regularly confronted by doubts about the meaningfulness of their efforts. Theirs is a kind of depression that does not respond to pharmaceutical treatment. What's required is healing in the realm of meaning. In this groundbreaking book, Eric Maisel teaches creative people how to handle these recurrent crises of meaning and how to successfully manage the anxieties of the creative process. Using examples both from the lives of famous creators such as van Gogh and from his own creativity coaching practice, Maisel explains that despite their inevitable difficulties, creative people possess the ability to forge relationships, repair themselves, and find meaning in their work and their lives. Maisel presents a step-by-step plan to help creative people handle their special brand of depression and rediscover the reasons they are driven to create in the first place.… (more)
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While there are parts of this book I really enjoyed, there were other parts I did not. Treatment of audience is a little uneven. I have been working my way through this book with a neighborhood friend. I found the first four chapters interesting, the next few a little more exciting, the chapters about brokenness and addiction less helpful or interesting than I hope for, but the last two chapters were worth the price of the book.It uses case studies and suggests resources and exercises. Some are excellent. ( )
  medievalmama | May 1, 2009 |
Acclaimed singer Alanis Morissette, promoting her album Jagged Little Pill in 1995, reported feeling a "dissonance in the midst of all the external success.. I was expected to be overjoyed by it, and at the same time I was disillusioned by it."

This kind of "crisis of meaning" - which many highly talented and creative people experience - is addressed in the book as a key element in depression.

Psychotherapist and creativity coach Eric Maisel acknowledges that medication or biological treatment, as well as therapy may help in alleviating depression, but he emphasizes that "Creators have trouble maintaining meaning... Not creating is depressing."

In addition to a number of perspectives and insights by artists, the book provides information and cognitive behavioral strategies from a variety of psychologists and creativity coaches to help deal with meaning crises that can erode creative expression and mental health.
1 vote douglaseby | Apr 1, 2008 |
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Creative people will experience depression--that's a given. It's a given because they are regularly confronted by doubts about the meaningfulness of their efforts. Theirs is a kind of depression that does not respond to pharmaceutical treatment. What's required is healing in the realm of meaning. In this groundbreaking book, Eric Maisel teaches creative people how to handle these recurrent crises of meaning and how to successfully manage the anxieties of the creative process. Using examples both from the lives of famous creators such as van Gogh and from his own creativity coaching practice, Maisel explains that despite their inevitable difficulties, creative people possess the ability to forge relationships, repair themselves, and find meaning in their work and their lives. Maisel presents a step-by-step plan to help creative people handle their special brand of depression and rediscover the reasons they are driven to create in the first place.

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