Susan O'Doherty

Susan O'Doherty, Ph.D. ( is a writer and clinical psychologist who specializes in the creative process. Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Mama, Ph.D. She is the author of Getting Unstuck without Coming Unglued: A Woman's Guide to Unblocking Creativity (Seal, 2007). Her popular advice column for writers, "The Doctor is In," appears each Friday on Buzz, Balls & Hype.

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Most Recent Articles

March 17, 2013
Jill Filipovic's recent Guardian column on the politics of changing one's name on marrying drew a strong response, both in the comments to the article and in other blog posts. Many commenters seemed to feel accused of being bad feminists if they chose to change their names, and some of the anti-change writers did sound the teensiest bit judgmental of their more traditional (in US terms) sisters.
March 10, 2013
Yesterday Ben told me a funny story about one of his professors. "He sounds like a lot of fun," I commented.
March 3, 2013
I have been following, with sometimes horrified fascination, the initial trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning. At the same time, I have been reading Pat Barker's Regeneration, which is, among other things, a meditation on the conflict between conscience and patriotic duty among officers serving in World War I.  
February 24, 2013
One element of musical improv that I (and many others) find challenging is rhyming. It is hard enough to express a strong emotion melodically, in regular rhythm, often switching off verses or even lines with a partner, without worrying about how to end the line with a rhyme that actually makes sense and is emotionally consonant with what has gone on before.
February 17, 2013
Thanks to everyone who inquired, in the comments and in email, about the outcome of last week's audition, or wrote to express support. It meant a lot. It was fine. I apparently didn't get the job, since I haven't heard back, and that is fine, too.
February 10, 2013
When I was in my twenties and early thirties, I studied acting and singing here in New York. I got work in small productions and the occasional film, but I never made enough money to quit my day jobs. This may have been partly due to a lack of talent, but I'll never know, because the fact is that I didn't try very hard. I hated auditioning; hated the feeling of selling myself; and I jumped on every possible excuse to avoid them.
February 3, 2013
This week, as I was starting to feel myself again after an intense bout of the flu, Ben came down with it. I had a comparatively light work week, so even when he wasn't that sick I was able to spend time with him, watching TV, talking when he felt up to it, and making tea, the closest thing to food he could tolerate for a few days.
January 27, 2013
I was going to write about this article, but Jill at Feministe beat me to it, providing a much more articulate and witty takedown than I would have managed. My only quibble is her reference to this article, which she and other writers cite as evidence that having children is detrimental to emotional health and well being.  
January 20, 2013
I had been feeling achy and draggy for longer than I could remember. I had a chronic headache, too. I thought of these as flu-like symptoms, but not the flu, because I don't get the flu. I almost never even get a cold. I have what I sometimes refer to as "autoimmune surplus syndrome, or ASS": my system gobbles up every virus or germ that comes its way, and when it has nothing left to feast on, it turns on itself, like the Ouroboros, the serpent that eats its own tail. I worry about being devoured from within, but not about what is flying around in the air. I figured that feeling lousy was the price I had to pay for overloading myself with work, classes, and active vacations at my age.
January 13, 2013
Last Friday, Ben called me at work. I answered with some trepidation, because 1) he knows not to call me during supervision hours unless it is an emergency, and 2) he never calls, only texts.


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