It is difficult to offer psychology or therapy to a performer, especially an actor, because they have a basic understanding of most parts of the world (or so they think). Why do I need therapy when I play one on TV?
Because life is not really like TV. The theater and television programing in an abridged, quick, condensed version of what life is like (or should be, or etc. etc. etc.). Life doesn’t really work like that.
Let’s take this situation: You go on a date, that you’ve been looking forward to having with your sweetheart for quite some time. You spend the time primping and preening so that when you look in the mirror, even you are dazzled by the effect you have on yourself. How could anyone not just fall all over themselves for me? you think to yourself. Your sweetheart walks through the door and asks if you are ready to go. Not a single comment about how you look, least to say that you would stop paparazzi. On the way to the restaurant, your sweetheart is argumentative and a bit of a butthead. Throughout the meal it seems that your sweetheart isn’t into the date and just wants to pick a fight. Every topic brought up turns into a tiff, disagreement, or slight quarrel. Oh, but fear not, because you were in a more hostile situation when you played in Tartuffe. Nothing is going to ruin your evening, until you get back from the date and then are plain ignored.
- If obviously doesn’t love me.
- If he did, he would have noticed how great I looked for him
- Maybe he wants me to end it with him
- It was supposed to be an amazing evening and he ruined it
- All he wants to do was argue
- How come he ignored me when we got back?
- Doesn’t he care about my feelings?
- This must mean it is over between us.
- Do I end it or do I wait for him?
It was one night. Now in a TV show, you miss the ALL DAY LONG part of your sitcom because it is mundane and nobody really wants to watch it. In your life, you need to even out what is relevant. First, I bet you didn’t try to find out what was wrong on his end. AND this was one date. Chill out. Everyone has bad days. But instead of coming to me for a logical, non-daytime-drama reaction to your shitty date, let me teach you a quick tour of how to fix your extreme thinking yourself:
First you need to score your life… well, not your whole life. Just the one moment that upset you. However, you aren’t going to score it like a scene. You are going to use basic (really basic) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy technique.
Write down the situation. Who? What? When? Where?
What was your mood (was there more than one?)
What were your automatic thoughts?
What evidence do you have to support those thoughts?
When you realize that you don’t have much evidence to support illogical or over-dramatic thoughts and behaviors, your mood will change.
Give it a practice today.