Exploring Mental Strenghts and Challenges of Performing Artists: Implications for Performance Consulting

Date of Award


Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Jamie Shapiro

First Committee Member

Mark Laird


Mental skills, performance psychology, performing arts, consulting


This cross-sectional qualitative, retrospective study explored performing artists’ mental strengths and challenges across domains and their thoughts on how performance psychology consultants can help performers in their domain. Analysis of data collected through semi-structured interviews with six performing artists (news anchor, circus artist, broadcast journalist, cellist, and multi-instrumentalist) revealed that the performing artists identified a total of twelve mental strengths, organized into four higher order categories: foundations of well-being, artistic expression, committed action, and perceptual impact. Participants identified ten mental challenges, organized into three higher order categories: environmental factors, barriers to execution, and long-term issues. The participants also identified three areas (awareness of clinical issues, teaching basic mental skills, and exploring resonance and values) in which they believed performance psychology consultants could benefit performing artists. The results of this study suggest that when focused on these areas, performance consulting can be a relevant and useful tool for performing artists.


Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


33 pages

Paper Method

Empirical - Qualitative

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