Woody Allen On Filmmaking As Therapy For Depression

Woody AllenDirector Woody Allen engaged in analysis for decades and once commented, “People used to say ‘You’re using psychoanalysis as a crutch.’ And I would say, ‘Yes. You’re hitting it exactly on the nose. I’m using it as a crutch.’”

He also said that psychiatrists helped him through difficult times and isolation: “It got me through periods of my life when I was very unhappy and was insecure. Just the act of having someone to speak to, someone interested in my problems in some way was helpful to me.”

From my post On The Couch for More Creativity.

Another article notes Woody Allen is a “filmmaker, screenwriter, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author and playwright. He fought his depression through the use of humor, which is a trend in many of his films.

“To help him manage his depression, Allen underwent psychoanalysis for a stretch of 30 years. Allen stopped, then turned to clinical therapy for his depression and following his sixth marriage to wife Soon-Yi Previn, he ended his depression treatment.”

From slideshow article: Celebrities with Depression (apparently no longer online) – which listed 14 people, including Richard Dreyfuss, Adam Duritz, Janet Jackson, Jim Carrey and Ashley Judd.

[Read more about Judd in my Highly Sensitive site post Developing creativity: hypervigilance and highly sensitive people.]

See related article: 13 Celebrities Who Have Experienced Depression.

Other performers and artists who have experienced depression include Edna St. Vincent Millay, Marie Osmond, Lorraine Bracco, Alanis Morissette and others – see my post Depression and creative people.

In a Wall Street Journal article, Allen comments about creative work as therapy, and pleasure:

“You know in a mental institution they sometimes give a person some clay or some basket weaving?” he said. “It’s the therapy of moviemaking that has been good in my life. If you don’t work, it’s unhealthy—for me, particularly unhealthy.

“I could sit here suffering from morbid introspection, ruing my mortality, being anxious. But it’s very therapeutic to get up and think, Can I get this actor; does my third act work? All these solvable problems that are delightful puzzles, as opposed to the great puzzles of life that are unsolvable, or that have very bad solutions. So I get pleasure from doing this. It’s my version of basket weaving.”

From How Woody Allen Sees It By Charles McGrath.

Photo from book: Woody Allen on Woody Allen.

He also says, “I find the whole experience [casting movies] very awkward, because I am socially awkward. I don’t like meeting people.”  – Read more in post: Woody Allen on Casting and Being Socially Awkward.


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