PAMA Webinar

PAMA Young Professionals Webinar: Mental Health in the Performing Arts: 2-Part Webinar Series (Part 2)


About this Webinar

June 6, 2023 at 8:00 pm EDT

Mental Health in the Performing Arts: 2-Part Webinar Series (Part 2)

Recorded on Tuesday June 6, 2023 at 8pm EDT – the second of a two-part inspiring webinar series featuring experts within the field of mental health in the performing arts! Part 2 focused primarily on what steps we can take to not only prevent mental health challenges for performing artists, but what we can do about it when issues arise. We discussed organizational and systemic factors, as well as steps individuals can take to look after their own mental health. This webinar was aimed at health professionals and educators who are part of the circle of care for performing artists, as well as leaders in the industry and performing artists themselves.

Our esteemed panelists for this webinar are Susan Raeburn, a clinical psychologist, Leigh Skvarla, a professional counselor, Rachel Fine, a Registered Dietician Nutritionist, and professional ballet dancer Katherine Williams.




Susan RaeburnDr. Susan Raeburn is a licensed clinical psychologist in independent practice in Oakland, CA with a special interest in working with performing artists.  She attended U.C.L.A. (BA), San Francisco State University (M.A.), and the Wright Institute, Berkeley (PhD). Following internship training at Stanford University Medical Center, she was a staff psychologist there in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine (1983-1992). She later worked as a staff psychologist in Chemical Dependency Services at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Walnut Creek, CA (1992-2016). In addition to her clinical practice, Susan has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on eating disorders, addictions, and musician mental health.  With Eric Maisel, she co-authored Creative Recovery: A Complete Addiction Treatment Program That Uses Your Natural Creativity (Shambhala, 2008.) Susan has been active at music industry conferences (South by Southwest, North by Northwest, NARAS, The Future of Music Coalition, The Experience Music Project), The College Music Society, and the Performing Arts Medicine Association where she is on the Editorial Board of their journal, Medical Problems of Performing Artists. She contributed two chapters in Touring and Mental Health: The Music Industry Manual  from Omnibus Press/London (2023). As an amateur guitarist/singer, Susan considers one of her most meaningful qualifications in working with performers is being the daughter of touring musicians, big band leader Boyd Raeburn and jazz vocalist Ginnie Powell.


Leigh Skvarla

Leigh Skvarla is a licensed professional counselor who holds a doctorate in Sport & Exercise Psychology and a master’s in Counseling from West Virginia University. A graduate of Bucknell University, Leigh serves as the co-founder of The Center for Grit and Growth and an associate advisor for Minding the Gap. She has worked in a variety of settings including a university counseling center, psychiatric hospital, athletics department, and private practice. She specializes in performance enhancement, life transitions, mood & anxiety disorders, trauma, and general adjustment issues. Leigh’s work is influenced by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Leigh has received advanced training in perinatal issues through Postpartum Support International, and in trauma-informed care through the Institute for Creative Mindfulness. She is a member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychological Association, and the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science.


Rachel FineRachel Fine is a board-certified Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and certified counselor of Intuitive Eating. Rachel founded To The Pointe Nutrition and The Healthy Dancer® in 2013 with the mission to provide certified nutrition education to dancers of all levels. With a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics from New York University Rachel completed her Dietetic Internship at NYU Langone Medical Center and at The Mount Sinai Hospital. After receiving licensure, Rachel joined the staff at NYU Langone Medical Center as a Clinical Dietitian. Past academic appointments includes Clinical Adjunct Co-Instructor for Medical Nutrition Therapy at New York University and Sports Nutrition at Long Island University. Rachel’s experience among dancers stems further with research at NYU Langone’s Harkness Center for Dance Injuries.


Katherine WilliamsKatherine Williams has been a professional ballet dancer with American Ballet Theatre since December 2007, and a soloist dancer since June 2018. She has performed across the US and globally in places like Japan, Abu Dhabi, Cuba, and China. When the pandemic shut down any opportunities to work as a ballet dancer, Katherine received her Masters in Applied Positive Psychology from University of Pennsylvania. She wrote her thesis on the role of mindfulness in performance, and has since continued to study the crossroads of positive and performance psychology as it relates to her specific field. She hopes to bring back many of the valuable lessons she learned to help future dancers to thrive within their difficult and demanding careers. Katherine lives in New York City when not traveling for work or back to her hometown of Honolulu, HI.


This webinar is available to members by logging in to watch this and all previously recorded webinars. Begin by clicking here.

Click here to download Mental Health in the Performing Arts Resources