Our inner critic can help us strive to do our best, or it can cripple us from even trying. Dennis Palumbo, a former Hollywood screenwriter turned psychotherapist, believes the inner critic is a necessary part of the creative process.
While in some ways I agree with Mr. Palumbo, I don’t think our inner critic is useful when it shames us or bullies us into chronic feelings of failure or hopelessness.
What I have discovered with my Inner Stage™ workshops is that behind every harsh message we carry inside is a relational trauma.
Somewhere along the way we internalized or made sense of critical messages from people in our environment by blaming ourselves in distorted ways. The young boy who had a chronically impatient parent as an adult still believes he is slow, even if there is no basis for this in the present.
Psychodrama helps us separate out old, outdated messages by concretizing our inner critic, putting it on the therapeutic stage, and interacting with it. We learn where it comes from, who it represents, and how to put it in its proper place. Then it doesn’t have to frighten or overwhelm us.
Our inner critic can be our friend who helps us be the best performer we can be.
© 2013 Valerie Simon