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

10 Signs You're In a Good Relationship

By Abigail Brenner M.D. on March 30, 2015 in In Flux
Relationship usually begin with romance and sex being upfront and center. But what really sustains a relationship? Here are some points to keep in mind while you're working on creating that special partnership.

Did Mental Illness Make the Pilot Crash the Plane?

By Carrie Barron M.D. on March 30, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
Not all depressions are alike. Severe depression with psychotic features may elude a clinician as they are well masked or not present at the time of the exam. Symptoms ebb and flow, troubled people can be high functioning and we have much to uncover about the conditions of the Germanwings co-pilot.

The Suicide-Mass Murder Connection: A Growing Epidemic

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Wicked Deeds
Negative and alienating social forces have made suicide the new murder as frustrated and fearful Americans turn their anger onto themselves and take their own lives in unprecedented numbers. These same social forces also explain the sharp rise in mass public shootings as fatalistic individuals increasingly kill themselves and others in catastrophic acts of violent rage.

A Better Way to Prevent Rampage Killings

By Izzy Kalman on March 30, 2015 in Resilience to Bullying
To protect their children from a student who wrote a violent novel that describes how he kills them, parents at Tidwell Middle School are demonstrating to have him expelled from school. If anything, their demonstrations may be helping to create a monster and putting their children in greater danger. There is a better way to for these parents to demonstrate.

Three Ways Your Romantic Instincts Can Lead You Astray

By Juliana Breines Ph.D. on March 29, 2015 in In Love and War
Romantic instincts are subject to a number of biases that can lead us to trust the wrong people and overlook the right ones.

Suicide or Mass Murder? : The Deliberate Downing of Flt 9525

By Stephen A Diamond Ph.D. on March 29, 2015 in Evil Deeds
What motivates suicidal mass killings like the deliberate downing of Germanwings Flt. 9525?

Misdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, Part II

A case study illustrating comorbidity and distinctions between bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and attention deficit disorder.

Mental Illness Among Nurses

By Scott Haas on March 29, 2015 in Shrink in the Kitchen
Workplace Stress: Identification and Intervention. Pilots, yes. And let's look at other professions that are also down-to-earth.

Don’t Forget to Remember

Memory isn't just about dwelling in the past. Prospective memory is intimately involved in planning and goal-setting for the future. Remembering to remember is fraught with challenges. Lists, post it notes, strings around fingers, knotted handkerchiefs? How do you remember to remember?

Understanding Transgender Reality

In February, at the annual International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) symposium, I was honored to hear Ryan Sallans, an international speaker, transgender man and author of the book Second Son, speak.

Megan Kruse: The Driving Force of Desire

By Jennifer Haupt on March 27, 2015 in One True Thing
"I know there are people who have always known their destinations. When I worry that I’m getting nowhere, I try to remember the power of never attaining. What would it mean to want for nothing? I can only think that to stop wanting would snuff out the candle of the glittering next life."

How to Explore Your Sexual Boundaries With Your Partner

One of the best ways to prevent boredom and breathe new life into the bedroom is to explore your sexual boundaries together. Most couples don’t explicitly communicate their boundaries with each other, so a lot of couples don’t actually know where they stand on the behaviors and fantasies they feel comfortable experimenting with.

The Bourgeois Revolution

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on March 23, 2015 in The Prime of Life
Many of our most powerful fantasies and expectations about marriage and family life emerged two centuries ago.

The Best Strategy for Facing Your Biggest Fears

By Erin Olivo Ph.D. on March 22, 2015 in Wise Mind Living
Fear is an emotion that many people try to avoid because it makes you feel uncomfortable. Is there anything you aren’t facing right now because your fear is holding you back?

Rejection and Dating

Don't take rejection personally is easier said that done, but it CAN be done!

Wresting Meaning from Loss

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on March 21, 2015 in The Prime of Life
Coping with loss -- then and now.

What Schizophrenia Teaches Us About Perception

By Allie Burke on March 20, 2015 in Paper Souls
The very definition of schizophrenia stigmatizes the entire human race as a parallel universe, thereby refusing the reality of exclusivity.

The Blissful Torture of Unrequited Love

Whether fast or slow, it comes on hard—as powerful as a bludgeon, but one covered in the softest velvet. It’s two-faced as well, like an optical illusion. And it’s also supremely paradoxical. How can an unreturned love engender such ecstatic, sublime feelings? Yet the chemical dynamics of reciprocation fantasies can be incredibly powerful...

Why Are Emotionally Unavailable Men So Damn Desirable?

The allure of emotionally unavailable men is undeniable to many. Women caught up in their charms often spend inordinate time, energy, and internal resources working to get their special attention. Here are 5 reasons why unavailable men carry such value.

The Therapy Relationship in Psychodynamic Therapy versus CBT

Some therapists have no idea what a therapeutic relationship means

Science and the Online Dating Profile

Online dating is the new singles bar, one in which your words won't be drowned out by the music. But which words should you use? There is some scientific evidence about relatively more effective ways to turn an online contact into a real huggable moment.

Treating William Shakespeare

Asking which of the things I did that worked and which didn’t is exactly the same as asking which things the patient does in response I should feel rewarded by.

When Love Kills

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on March 16, 2015 in A Swim in Denial
In 1850s Rome, cloistered nuns got entangled in fraud, murder, sexual hijinks, and what the investigators “false holiness.” The Inquisition kept the scandal buried until 1998. Now the story’s out and it has much to tell us about love, hero-worship, crime, and neoteny.

How the Menstrual Cycle Affects Women's Libido

By Michael Castleman M.A. on March 15, 2015 in All About Sex
Unlike dogs and cats, women don't experience "heat," but studies show a libido spike around ovulation.

How to Completely Change Your Sex Life and Relationship

It's normal for a couple who has been together for a few years to fall into a stale and boring pattern. Our brains crave novelty. Stability and security is nice and comforting, but it’s not exciting. Instead of taking each other for granted and then going on Facebook looking up someone you dated high school, try being open and honest with each other. Hit the reset button.

Surprising Facts about Non-Monogamous Relationships

If you consider swinging, both partners need to be completely comfortable with it. There is no “un-ringing the bell” with this type of decision, so if you are a couple reading this, the first and most important step before making the leap is to talk to your partner and find out what he or she might be interested in.

10 Ways to Spot an 'Everyday' Sadist

When we think of sadism, it’s often the “50 Shades of Grey” variety. However, sadism doesn’t just live in the bedroom. This 10-item quiz will help you find out who secretly harbors an unnatural desire to harm.

Personality Disorders Explained 3: Treatment

Where most therapies capitalize on the alliance with the one part of the patient that agrees with the psychological formulation, therapists treating personality disorders are on their own.

The Book That Changed My Life

By Sheila Kohler on March 09, 2015 in Dreaming for Freud
I first encountered Proust’s work in what might be considered rather adverse yet somewhat Proustian circumstances. He was a favorite writer of my ex-husband and his southern mother who had discovered Proust on her own in the library in Kentucky where she had taken out Scott Montcrieff’s translation of Remembrance of Things past, and read it by chance.

Sports Are Like Sleep

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on March 09, 2015 in The Power of Prime
So, how are sports like sleep? You can’t TRY to play well. Forcing yourself to play well creates overthinking, muscle tension, and the attempt to control your body in the hopes that you can make your body play well. But, the harder you try to play well, the less likely you will play well. You want to allow great play to emerge naturally.