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Ask the Rock Doc: 
Sound Advice 4 a Song: 
By psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr BLT 

***Details and implied method of inquiry may be altered in the following correspondence to protect the confidentiality of the inquiring party and to emphasize certain aspects involved in the maintenance of good mental and spiritual health habits.  

Phantom Tollbooth visitors: If you want to access the song I dug out of my doctor's bag to offer this musician in distress, click the link below:

You Never Know (When a Song is Gonna Come) 
Words and music by Dr BLT © 2007 

Dear Rock Doc: 

My friend who caught you in a Cake music video (of all things said) told me that you deal with musicians in distress.  I certainly fall under this category.  I'm a 19-year-old female singer/songwriter.  I mostly go solo, touring the Chicago coffee house circuit.  I used to never be able to understand the concept of writer's block because the music generally flows through me.  I've written several thousand songs.  Suddenly everything is different.  

My boyfriend, Leroy, who I've been dating since 9th grade, told me that he's been lying all along about my music, telling me that I had talent when I didn't.  This all came out when I told him I wanted to audition for American Idol last spring.  We almost broke up, mainly because I had trusted him all along only to find out that he's been a liar, but also because I've lost confidence in myself as a person, as a girlfriend, and as a singer/songwriter.   Please, please help.  I'm getting very depressed over this and lack the energy to do anything constructive about it.  

American, Idle 

Dear American, Idle: 

There may be various reasons for your boyfriend revealing his "true feelings" about your talents.  The idea of you actually making it on American Idol  may be bringing out certain insecurities in him that he is unaware of.  He may be okay with you simply doing local gigs, but may be threatened by you going to the next level.  If this were the case, it would have to do with his fear of becoming simply your accessory, or worse, getting dumped when you finally decide his is a nobody living in a somebody's world.  

I would encourage you both to see a professional therapist over the matter if you are unable to resolve it between yourselves.  But let's say that it's not a matter of him being threatened by the prospect of your success.  Let's say he really has been hiding his true feelings about your music.

It may not be a matter of you being incompetent as a musician.  He may, in fact, be incompetent as a judge of your performance, or he could be mistaking his own stylistic preference for your "incompetence."  

Now, for a more depressing scenario.  Let's say you really are not that good as a singer/songwriter?   Does that automatically mean that you have no talent?  Or, could it mean that you are, in fact, gifted as a musician, but you need some training to perfect your craft?  

The problem with the way your mind is perceiving this is that your mind is only allowing for one possibility among several----the possibility that you lack talent and that pursuing success as a singer/songwriter is absolutely futile.  

Don't put all of your eggs (or, in this case, all of your songs) in one judge's basket and automatically buy his attitude towards your songs as legit.  

Have lots and lots of people give you feedback, and tell them you want honest feedback and not just nice words to make you feel good about yourself and your songs (unless of course those nice words are also truthful words).  

In this case, there are your boyfriend's actual perceptions of your music; there are unconscious forces that may be influencing his "perceptions;" there are your perceptions of his perceptions as he stated them; there are unconscious forces that may be skewing your interpretations of his most recent perceptions; and then there are self-statements, based on those unconscious forces that you are formulating in order to make sense of the discrepancy between his initial impression of your music, and his most recent perceptions.  

You will need to sort all of these things out in order to arrive at the truth.  Even more importantly, all of this tells me that you lack confidence in your ability to assess your own talents, and that you suffer from low self-esteem in which you are easily beset by the opinions of others, whether or not they are legit.  

Your self-esteem will need to be nurtured if it is to grow.  So even after this is resolved with the possible aid of a professional therapist, the self-esteem issues may linger, and may require a longer course of treatment in oder to be sufficiently addressed.

I hope my comments have been helpful.  As my own song suggests (catch the link above), music and happiness will return to your world to brighten it up.  You never know when a song is going to come, so don't give up.

Take care (and I mean that literally!).  

The Rock Doc 

***If you are a musician in distress, or the spouse, friend, parent or relative of one, please email me at



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