“The relationship of artists with their works can be healing, and change to toxic from one day to the next”


Mental health

Natxo Velez | Average EITB

Musika Bulegoa organizes on May 30 and 31 in Bilbao and Errenteria the free workshop on mental health “Mastering your inner world”, given by the psychologist Rosana Corbacho. It is aimed at professionals in the music industry and musicians and musicians.

Anxiety, stress, blockages… Our socioeconomic vital framework threatens our mental health in all areas, whatever the productive sector -and the sacralization of this word is not harmless- in which we move.

Faced with this wounded emotional landscape, the Musika Bulegoa association, which works for “the promotion and improvement of musical activity in the Basque Country”, has organized for May 30 (Bilbao, Palacio Euskalduna) and 31 (Errenteria, Niessen kulturgunea) the workshop “Mastering Your Inner World”aimed at professionals in the music industry, musicians and musicians.

The course is taught by the clinical and humanist psychologist specialized in the music industry Rosana Corbacho, to whom we wanted to ask a few questions.

Who is the workshop “Mastering your inner world” aimed at? What pushed you to launch this initiative?

This workshop is aimed at artists and other professionals in the music industry. Conservatory students or anyone considering a career in this sector can also attend.

After observing throughout my career what were the environmental risks and the most common health problems, I felt that there were some easily implementable tools for the prevention and early treatment of anxiety, depression, stress and burnoutamong others.

“Group membership is one of the important elements of work for resilience”

In individual therapy, the objectives of each patient are worked on and they are adapted to what they need according to their vital moment. Carrying out workshops in a group format has many extra advantages. In the workshops for creatives on Spotify, the participants said that listening to what the groupmates shared made them feel connected, that they were not alone, helped with anxious symptoms, lowered the perception of being in competition and even with the syndrome of impostor.

I am passionate about everything that is lived in a group. The fact that Musika Bulegoa exists is already inspiring for me. Group membership is one of the important elements of resilience work.

What are, from your point of view, the main specific risks to which the music industry exposes musicians and musicians and the rest of its agents?

Work with physical pain and put the needs of the career above health. There are not many professions in which workers ask to be discharged voluntarily while still suffering from health problems. The statistics are very significant: professional musicians suffer more injuries than elite athletes.

On the other hand, the personal identity merged with the work role gives a lot of energy to dedicate to the career, but, if there is any element that puts it at risk, it can cause an internal destabilization that worsens any anxious or depressive symptomatology.

The self-demanding and competitiveness mean that signs of mental or physical health problems are ignored, and when treatment is sought it is usually in an advanced state of the problem, sometimes suffering sequelae or even having to leave the profession.

What alerts should be activated?

Sometimes it is difficult to activate alerts because there is a lot of work alone and little grouping.

I would start by implementing training workshops from teachers in conservatories to higher master’s degrees where the basic tools for the prevention of mental health problems are worked on. Also being able to count on a directory of professionals specialized in treatment: doctors, physiotherapists, psychologists, etc.

Organizations can be more open to taking care of the balance of the people they work with, but the ultimate responsibility has to come from individuals: listening to their own limits, prioritizing their health, betting on careers that also take well-being into account and not just success.

Rosana Corbacho

Many male and female creators speak of the value of creation as a means to rationalize and analyze their emotions. To what extent can we speak of the widely used “therapeutic value of art” for creators?

I love it when they talk about creativity and emotions, but it’s so hard for them to be able to name them if they don’t practice it… The relationship between artists and their works can be very fruitful and healing, and change to a toxic relationship or a block from one day to other. I think learning the basics of how creativity works and what parts of the brain are activated goes a long way in fostering artistic expression.

There are certain myths that do not help much, such as suffering as a source of inspiration. On some occasions it may serve as a catalyst and others block. The important thing is to learn to surf the emotional waves and get to know the inner world to maximize creativity and even enjoy the process.

And from the point of view of the “consumer” of the work, in this case of music, what power does music have for him and the listener in terms of mental health?

There are many studies regarding the benefits of music therapy for different disorders. From improving anxiety levels, to treating chronic pain or insomnia.

I always like to share one of the examples of why repetitive music calms our central nervous system. Being in nature, when we hear crickets, birds and various animals, it usually means that everything is fine. There are no predators. We can rest, relax, let our guard down. If it’s suddenly very quiet, there may be something lurking, so the body activates a fight or flight response related to fear or anxiety.

Music alters brain waves, being related when the rhythm is faster with concentration. Slower rhythms are associated with meditative or hypnotic states. It can also help distract from negative stimuli, helping to implement a sense of challenge rather than danger.

“There are certain myths that do not help much, such as suffering as a source of inspiration”

Mental health has opened a small gap in public debate in recent years. Is there a greater understanding and normalization towards it? What measures are urgent here and now to preserve the mental health of citizens?

I feel that we are in a good moment for the debate. In fact, it’s exciting that we’ve already moved from “we need to talk about mental health” to “what can we do to improve mental health.” Taking action is precisely my current mission. In each workshop, conference, talk, etc. I try to provide practical tools.

It is urgent that access to individual or group therapy be prioritized, especially in populations that are at risk and do not have resources. Also that the first treatment does not continue to be directly antidepressants and benzodiazepines by primary care. Our country is the largest consumer in Europe and for me this is a risk for the population.

Even implementing cognitive behavioral therapy programs in primary care could prevent diseases and provide people with tools to not only cure symptoms, but also increase their resilience.

What would you like to hear from a person who has just finished the workshop?

I would like that, as in other workshops, weeks later people tell me that they are sleeping better, having less anxiety, enjoying their runs, setting more limits and that they have even overcome some creative block.

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“The relationship of artists with their works can be healing, and change to toxic from one day to the next”