Understanding Fantasies

Fantasies are not frivolous. They can be entertaining, distracting, frightening, even arousing, but they also allow for creativity and help us plan for the future. As long as we don't mistake fantasies for reality (as in delusional disorder and schizophrenia) or let them become too rigid (as in paraphilias), they provide a necessary escape from the here and now.

Recent Posts on Fantasies

Spontaneous Remission: Fact or Fiction?

Can the mind heal an incurable, fatal medical illness?

Depathologizing Sexual Eroticism

Discovering a partner’s surprising porn-viewing habits can be disturbing, but it can also be a gateway to greater understanding and compassion.

Can Visualization Techniques Treat Serious Diseases?

By Clifford N Lazarus Ph.D. on January 26, 2016 Think Well
Learn how to harness your mind's power for psychological enrichment and physical benefits, too. Welcome to the fascinating field of psychoneuroimmunolgy (PNI).

The Psychoanalysis of Politicians Like Donald Trump

The study, published in the academic journal ‘Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society’, was inspired by the recent sudden emergence of a new popular right-wing movement in US politics.

When Pleasure Fantasies Cause Distress, What Can You Do?

By Meg Selig on January 21, 2016 Changepower
Blissful daydreams and fantasies can be fun and helpful...unless their dark side takes control.

Social Fantasies

By Bernard L. De Koven on January 19, 2016 On Having Fun
Children’s games are social fantasies. They are shared dreams in which certain themes are being toyed with – investigated and manipulated for the sake of some future reintegration.

How to Win the Lottery Even If You Lose

Losing the lottery might be the best thing that's ever happened to you.

7 Tips for Coping With A Paranoid Partner

Living with a paranoid person can take a toll. False accusations and delusional fears are not easy to manage, especially in a person who is otherwise functioning fairly well.

2 Keys for Conquering Your Worst Case Scenarios

Sometimes our imaginations make our fears feel horrifyingly real. How can we counter this common tendency?

Hollywood Diversity Awakens!

Casting with diversity in mind is a gift for everyone.

What Star Wars Teaches Us About Health

Can the future teach the past?

The Creative Power of Thinking Big

By Drew Boyd on December 27, 2015 Inside the Box
Generate better ideas by mentally simulating the "down the road" effect of the idea. The bigger the impact you predict, the higher the quality of the idea.

In Anticipation of 'The Force Awakens'

The opening of the 'Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens' is an opportunity to reflect on the cultural and personal meaning of the 'Star Wars' Universe then and now.

Did I Mention?

By Bernard L. De Koven on December 08, 2015 On Having Fun
When we imagine something together (imagine, not necessarily pretend, not at all like theater, more like seeing with the mind's eye) we can make it seem even more real, feel even more fun.

10 Things About Sigmund Freud You'll Wish You Hadn't Learned

By Rebecca Coffey on December 01, 2015 The Bejeezus Out of Me
December 3 is the 120th anniversary of Anna Freud's birth. What most people don't know is that the secrets she held threatened to shake the foundation of her father's legacy.

Think Pink for Girls

The Bank of Costa Rica announced the opening of pink banks for women with the slogan, posted on billboards all over San Jose, "NoWoman Is Complicated." I know where I am geographically, but I think I have fallen out of time to a much earlier century.

Why Is Your Relationship a Secret?

Historically, the closest a young woman could get to having power was to have sex with a man who had it. If the powerful man desires a woman privately, could he really deny publicly that she's the love of his life?

The Elephant in Sigmund Freud's Consulting Room

By Rebecca Coffey on November 17, 2015 The Bejeezus Out of Me
Anna Freud may be Patient Zero in the on-gong debate about gay conversion therapy.

Why It's Great to Ask 'What If' (Except When It Isn't)

Imagining how we could act can be simultaneously terrifying and liberating

Trauma, Resilience, and Fantasy

By Scott Haas Ph.D. on November 15, 2015 Shrink in the Kitchen
Resilience and fantasy among trauma survivors and their families.

I'm Torn Between 2 Men

"I need help on deciding which guy to date."

Is Ben Carson Too Skeptical?

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on November 10, 2015 Fighting Fear
Although it is clear to Ben Carson that Joseph and his Egyptian friends put up the pyramids to store grain for the coming seven lean years, someone erred since the pyramids are made of solid rock. Dr. Carson dismisses the involvement of aliens; but is he too quick to come to judgement?

Is Texting or Sexting Cheating?

Sexting, texting and porn are subjects we typically shy away from but not dealing with it may come back to bite you.

Why do People Believe in Supernatural Evil Forces?

By Clay Routledge Ph.D. on October 31, 2015 More Than Mortal
Do people gain any psychological benefits from believing that evil supernatural forces are real? Emerging research reveals the benefits of believing in evil spirits.

Novels About Mental Health & Illness

No doubt these are heavy themes to read about. Yet it’s to the most emotional places we dare to travel that true compassion can be found.

Complex Marriages Depicted in Fiction

While there are lots of terrific nonfiction self-help books aimed at couples starting out, getting hitched, navigating rough patches, or even contemplating calling it quits, for the deep dive on marital relationships, I turn to fiction.

Guns, Mental Health, and Insurance

We can’t identify who is going to be the next shooter with tests and diagnosis. But we can adjust our thinking regarding optimal mental and physical health and, rather than continuing to stigmatize those individuals engaged in long term talk therapy, accept the fact that it provides great benefits for all of us.

Sexual And Romantic Minimalism

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 12, 2015 Ambigamy
Are you wasting the time of your life in habitual pursuit of sex and romance?

Are Fictional Heroes Making Us Stupid About Gun Control?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 09, 2015 Ambigamy
Those who oppose gun control could be influenced more by their Netflix account than by the NRA. Availability bias explains why.

Why "Twilight" is Worse Than Just a Bad Book

Why is "Twilight" scary? As a romantic fantasy, it's a damaging one; for a trashy book, it's a lousy one; and as an for escape for a young woman who's longing to break out of her everyday confinements, it's a trap.