Standing at Water's Edge: Moving Past Fear, Blocks, and Pitfalls to Discover the Power of Creative Immersion

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New World Library, Nov 30, 2010 - Self-Help - 224 pages
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For most people who seek to create — whether they are artists, writers, or businesspeople — the daily task of immersing themselves in their creative work is both a joy and a profound challenge. Instead of stepping easily into the creative state, they succumb to chronic procrastination and torturous distraction. In Standing at Water’s Edge, psychologist Anne Paris calls on her extensive experience in working with creative clients to explore the deep psychological fears that block us from creative immersion. Employing cutting-edge theory and research, Paris weaves a new understanding of the artist during the creative process. Rather than presenting the creation of art as a lonely, solitary endeavor, she shows how relationships with others are actually crucial to creativity. Shining a light on the innermost experience of the artist as he or she engages with others, the artwork, and the audience, Paris explores how our sense of connection with others can aid or inhibit creative immersion. She reveals a unique model of “mirrors, heroes, and twins” to explore the key relationships that support creativity. Paris’s groundbreaking psychological approach gives artists valuable new insight into their own creative process, allowing them to unlock their potential and finish their greatest projects.

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User Review  - maggieball - LibraryThing

Any artist/writer who creates from a deep seated place – a place of intensity and authenticity – will understand the fear at the point of immersion. It’s always scary and often confronting to work ... Read full review


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Page 30 - On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting.
Page 21 - A picture is not thought out and settled beforehand. While it is being done it changes as one's thoughts change. And when it is finished, it still goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it. A picture lives a life like a living creature, undergoing the changes imposed on us by our life from day to day. This is natural enough, as the picture lives only through the man who is looking at it.
Page 30 - When I am in my painting, I'm not aware of what I'm doing. It is only after a sort of "get acquainted" period that I see what I have been about. I have no fears about making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well.
Page 36 - I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Page 15 - You have come a long way round to reach this place, whither I would have carried you in a few moments. But it is very well.' 'What must I do ?' said John. 'You must take off your rags,' said she, 'as your friend has done already, and then you must dive into this water.' 'Alas,' said he, 'I have never learned to dive.' 'There is nothing to learn,' said she. 'The art of diving is not to do anything new but simply to cease doing something. You have only to let yourself go.

About the author (2010)

Anne Paris, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Cincinnati, Ohio, who specializes in helping artists and other creative people reach their potential. She founded the Cincinnati Center for Self Psychology, a training and education center for mental-health professionals. She is an adjunct professor in the Union Institutes graduate psychology program where she teaches classes, supervises and trains graduate psychology students, and participates in doctoral committees. Dr. Paris has practiced psychotherapy for over twenty years, specializing in creativity, trauma, relationships, and parenting. She was trained and mentored in Self Psychology and Intersubjectivity Theory by the internationally known experts Anna Ornstein, MD, and Paul Ornstein, MD. Dr. Paris lives in a house in the woods with her husband, Mike, her son, Alex, and two cats, Katie and Morgan. Her website is

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