July 4, 2013
Support for an APA Entertainment Division
Susan D. Raeburn, Ph.D.
As a psychologist with thirty years of experience working with and writing about musicians and other artists’ mental health concerns, I support the creation of an Entertainment Division in APA. Division 10, the APA Arts Division, has not traditionally addressed clinical issues pertaining to performers despite the profound impact the psychology of these artists continues to have on the culture as a whole. Other organizations, such as the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA), have provided much needed attention to the health and special needs of performers, but psychology continues to be a minor focus relative to physical medicine.
Considering the enormous wealth surrounding the entertainment industry, one might hope that an APA Division of Entertainment could help legitimize increased funding for scientific study which has been sorely lacking to date. Areas of potential interest that I would like to see addressed within this new Division include such topics as: occupational stress and coping processes over the career life span (including similarities and differences amongst artistic professions and subgenres); the dynamics between performer health and development and the corporate interests and demands of the entertainment industry; the influence of cultural portrayals of artists on artists themselves and the Public, particularly adolescents, and the breakdown of such stereotypes.
July 9, 2013
Ralph G. Kuechle, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Psy22751, Newport Beach, CA.
August 7, 2013
"I support the new APA Division "Entertainment Psychology". I have been peripherally associated with the entertainment industry through my participation as a semi-professional musician as well as having friends in the television news industry. I see a need for mental health support for those in the entertainment industry in order to support the creative process and to assist in dealing with creative differences, burn out, adapting to celebrity, and the ability to work productively in a group without the intrusion of maladaptive familial communication patterns that can make creative work more complicated. I am not aware of any current programs that exist to facilitate the maintenance of mental health for those in the entertainment business, as evidenced by the frequent reports of "melt downs" and other tragic consequences related to the immense pressures of this business (e.g., substance abuse, family break ups, difficult adult adjustment for child actors, etc.). I can also see the utility of supporting the smooth completion of projects as being attractive to those who manage entertainment projects and other entities that are responsible for assuring the completion of these projects. I will soon be completing my doctoral education in psychology and would be interested in joining the APA and the Entertainment Psychology division in order to support the provision of education, therapy, crisis intervention, and psychological testing. Psychologists conducting research and contributing to prevention and early intervention specifically tailored to artists, staff, and executives in the entertainment industry can only be seen as beneficial and long over due."
Support for an APA Entertainment Division
Ken Davitian [Actor/Producer]
I’m surprised a specialized psychology division for the entertainment industry has not been developed yet, especially with all the tragedies over the years and the difficulty entertainers’ have transitioning out of childhood roles into adulthood.
I support the idea of Entertainment Psychology because I have had a firsthand view that success is a killer, rejection is a killer, and the combination of the two are lethal. Once one has a taste of success any rejection begins to erode ones being creating stress, uncertainty, and self doubt [i.e. I’m not good enough, I’m too old, I’m not pretty enough, I’m too heavy]. Additionally, in the early days of Hollywood one was protected by the studio system, now however, one is left to fend for themselves. Any move made by an entertainer is subject to exploitation, magnification, and judgment in the media and by society. Furthermore, fame and/or loss of fame also effects family, friends, fans, and people surrounding the entertainer. People identify with an entertainer in a subjective way whether the person knows the entertainer personally or not; hence stalkers. That said, even the people close to the entertainer may become someone else during the height of the entertainer’s fame and success, and then the relationships can transition toward darkness and dissolve when the entertainer is no longer capturing the spot light.
I believe everyone wants mental and physical health. I also believe a specialized focus in an industry like this one would help not only entertainers who are in the business but help guide young adults who are trying so hard to become the next Elizabeth Taylor or Robert Redford.