One day, you wake up and realize you've done nothing creative since writing that love poem to your college girlfriend, that your current relationship is codependent, and that you hate your parents even though they seem to like you enough. What separates the successfully creative from yourself? Pretty much nothing but a little mental reprogramming, according to one psychotherapist in Pinecrest.
Many of Miami's well-known artists and creative folk have sought assistance from Dr. Samuel Lopez de Victoria
, who helps people get through blocks. Known as Dr. Sam, he self-describes as a "Gandolf-like dude." He is a healer, a mentor, and a life-changer -- pretty much a wizard who can help you get your groove back.
He helps people by using a hybrid of applied kinesiology (monitoring muscle and neurological responses), accessing the subconscious mind, and modifying belief systems. Dr. Sam's daughters, Natasha and Monica, known as the TM Sisters, are respected artists who've received international acclaim for their work.
Miami New Times cover boy, Bert Rodriguez, is a local artist who's been helped by Dr. Sam. The talented artist is represented by the Fredric Snitzer Gallery and, among other honors, was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. "Everyone has a certain amount of self-imposed limitations that keep them from really stretching out their potential, and Sam has helped me more than once to clear those obstacles," Rodriquez explains.
Dr. Sam thinks of what he does in simple terms: "I help people heal their hurts, their traumas." How can one man do that? He says he taps into larger truths and determines where trauma has caused any connecting belief systems to devolve. "Whether it's believing things about themselves that were wrong, now they believe good things about themselves or people." Basically, he mends broken paths, enabling both creativity and productivity.
Raised Catholic in Puerto Rico, the doctor underwent a religious conversion, joining a group of non-denominational Christians, preaching around the country and building spiritual and religious communities. After 25 years as a minister, he left the church to pursue a new life. "As a pastor I was always concerned that I am helping people. 'Cause if you're not helping people, you're lousy in that business."
Two therapists and researchers mentioned in Tony Robbins's book Waking the Giant Within turned a lightbulb on in his head, he says. According to Dr. Sam, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, "came up with the idea that any excellent behavior can be duplicated and passed on to people." Their work with Milton Erickson pointed Dr. Sam in the direction of neurolinguistic programming, which is basically "mapping how the mental software works."
Another artist who has unblocked with Dr. Sam is Carlos Rodriguez (no relation to Bert), an accomplished percussionist and producer. After playing with such stars as Bo Diddley and credited on an award-winning album with the Latin Grammy Awards, he entered an unproductive and frustrating idle period.
He says "Dr. Sam's invaluable techniques and coaching helped me heal past emotional traumas and catapulted me to where I am today." He now owns his own music label, Musec Records.
Despite fancy words like neurolinguistic programming, it's not as kooky as it may sound. After all, our brains and nervous systems aren't that different from computers, right? And for artists who make their living and garner satisfaction from being able to stretch their creative impulses to the limit, this mental realignment gets them back on projects.
So if writer's block is what ails you or if you suddenly feel like you'll never have another original thought again, who knows, a trip to Dr. Sam might be the kick in the ass you need. It beats banging your head against the wall.
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