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

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.
January 6, 2013
Our family spent the week between Christmas and New Year's traveling, as we try to do every year. This is partly because, since my mother died, we have no family nearby, and so have no fixed celebration ritual, and partly because it is cheaper to travel when no one else wants to.
December 16, 2012
When The Dark Knight Rises came out, an improv classmate mentioned having heard that Christian Bale's costume was so elaborate he had to be sealed into it at the beginning of each filming day, necessitating a catheter until the costume was removed. "That's why I'm sticking with improv," another classmate observed. "I'm Batman because I say I am."   I was reminded of this exchange the other evening, when a friend and I amused ourselves while waiting for a performance to begin by compiling a list of reasons we prefer improv to "legitimate" theater:
December 9, 2012
Ben handed in his application to the BFA program at his college last week. It was a demanding process, involving writing, arranging, performing and recording three original compositions and performing and recording a classical piece, as well as a written essay and a resume of pertinent experience.
December 2, 2012
I am taking five classes this semester, in musical theater, improvisation and musical improvisation. I am learning important skills and concepts in all of them. However, I am also working and participating in a musical improv group that practices for two hours a week, and I was recently cast in a staged reading of a new play, with a tight rehearsal schedule. I am exhausted.


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