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 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 about Anna is that the secrets she held threatened to shake the foundation of her father's legacy. And so he analyzed her.

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
Imagine growing up gay in a household where your world-renowned father calls lesbianism a gateway to mental illness. And it is always, he said, caused by the father and curable by analysis. Now imagine that he analyzes you.

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.

The Story Game

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on October 03, 2015 How To Do Life
A game you can play with yourself or a client that can yield key revelations.

The Tipping Point and the Serial Killer

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on September 29, 2015 Shadow Boxing
What's it like to befriend a serial killer? Martha Elliott offers her no-holds-barred account.

Dangerous Daydreams

What do future serial killers think about before they kill someone? In the beginning, not much more than many traumatized children.

Having a Crush on Insects

By Jeffrey Lockwood Ph.D. on September 18, 2015 The Infested Mind
You’ve probably heard about people who have a sexual fetish for shoes, leather, or red hair. But what if a person is aroused by the crushing of a living being? Might there be an argument that the pleasure derived in this way is has fewer moral problems than the sensual satisfaction of eating meat?

Champion Novak Djokovic Reveals the Power of Visualization

By Aldo Civico Ph.D. on September 17, 2015 Turning Point
How world-class player Novak Djokovic trains for mental toughness using mindfulness and visualization.

Enjoying Children's Books: Fiction AND Fact

By Elaine Reese Ph.D. on September 10, 2015 Tell Me a Story
Does your child prefer to read non-fiction?

Women's Sexual Fantasies - the Latest Scientific Research

It's important to note that while headline writers may focus on the fact women have sexual fantasies about coercive sex, this research finds it's an occasional daydream, not a preoccupation. It would be similarly unfair to tar men with the brush of an occasional fantasy they may have.

Murder and the Digital Self

Social media have changed us into directors of scripts of our own lives. This creates a detachment and possibly a change in "self", making us spectators and would-be journalists who act out our scripted fantasies, which in some tragic cases such as the Virginia live TV shootings, include murder.

Could Online Pornography Be A Silent Yet Exploding Epidemic?

Online pornography may be an emerging epidemic. Perhaps we need to treat the internet like any other possible addictive substance. Then we can be more thoughtful and intentional in being sure that online pornography doesn’t take hold of us and our youth.

Woody, Again - Irrational Man

The talented Woody Allen has entertained fans with a new film each year for nearly half a century. But just when his career is at its prime, the reprisal of old, denied, and never proved molestation charges by his still bitter ex-lover Mia Farrow and company has left his personal reputation newly tarnished, and threatens to dent the box office appeal of his films.

Top 3 Tips for “Fantasy-Prone” Writers

The so-called fantasy-prone person is actually a repository of hidden talents.

The Huntress Hunts You

The latest celebrity trophy hunter is a femme fatale who sees killing as therapy. Her motives help us understand the dilemma of everyone who’s ever felt like a Nobody in a Dead End job, in need of some life-saving heroic purpose.

Why Do Women Have Rape Fantasies?

Rape fantasies reflect women’s erotic comfort—wherever it may lead.

Where Do Our Fantasies Come From?

By Sheila Kohler on July 30, 2015 Dreaming for Freud
But from this reality, Oates takes a few small steps ( did Henry James really faint at his first visit overcome by the sights and sounds around him?) and eventually some imaginative leaps which seem to come only from her own imagination and perhaps her own fantasies. Are they also ours?