Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Eva Feindler, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Daniel Knafo, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Alisa Hurwitz, Psy.D.


The following qualitative study aims to further the literature's understanding of actors' attitudes regarding the connection between mental health and creativity. Generally, there has been a one-way relationship between the field of psychology and acting, in that actors have utilized the field of psychology to inform character development, while scare psychological research has been completed with actors as a sample. For this study, 12 professional New York-based actors, ages 22-56, participated in individual interviews with the principal investigator via on-line video conferencing. Interviews were conducted in order to: (a) better understand actors' beliefs about the relationship between creativity and mental health, (b) explore the ways in which mental health is discussed in the acting community, and (c) better understand actors' attitudes towards the effects of psychotherapy on the creative process. Using the qualitative research methods of Auerbach and Silverstein (2003), the interviews were transcribed and analyzed in order to extrapolate themes and theoretical constructs, and to create a narrative. Based on the analysis, the actors' narratives were notable for their paradoxes, which included their contradictory beliefs regarding the impact of acting on mental health, the relationship between mental suffering and creativity, and the value of psychotherapy. The study's discussion contextualizes the data using "role theory" (Landy, 2009).