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

Harassment Loves Secrecy

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on December 13, 2017 in A Swim in Denial
Harassment thrives on secrecy, which makes for distress. You need voices that encourage reality-testing and self-confidence, not dramatic sympathy.
K. Ramsland

Women Aroused by Murder

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on December 12, 2017 in Shadow Boxing
Some female serial killers defy notions in criminology and sexology that women develop sexual addictions.

How Novels Help You Grieve

Freud warned that "unexpressed emotions never die." Perhaps a good book can help you connect to deep emotions.

What You Should Read Next

As the days get shorter and the news gets more brutal, we could all use a healthy dose of fictional transportation. Here are some of my favorite 2017 reads.
M. P. Priestley

The Ripper's Home Base?

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on December 05, 2017 in Shadow Boxing
As we approach the 130th anniversary of the Ripper murders, we see more theories about whodunnit; here's one that offers details from original reports.

Criminal Profiling: The Original Mind Hunters

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on December 04, 2017 in Wicked Deeds
Practitioners of profiling analyzing evidence gathered at a crime scene and statements provided by victims and witnesses in order to develop a description of an unknown offender.

What Sexy Dreams Say About Your Psyche

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on December 03, 2017 in Creating in Flow
One woman's sex dream is another's nightmare. But such dreams may tell you something about your real life, both in and out of bed.

Mental Masturbation Deserves More Appreciation

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 30, 2017 in Ambigamy
We can't help but fantasize, often with great vision often with dangerous delusion. Since right or wrong, fantasy is our human birthright, we have to get good at it. Here's how.
Pixabay

Power in Sex Isn't a Problem, in Fantasy or With Consent

By Karen L Smith MSS, LCSW on November 27, 2017 in Full Living
Disturbing as the recent accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct are, the sexual fantasies that fueled them are common. The problem isn't the fantasies; its the enactment.

Fantasyland: A Nation of Primally Wounded People

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on November 26, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
Are you concerned about a post-truth world? Kurt Andersen’s new book, Fantasyland, gives the history of America's attraction to fantasy. Primal woundedness helps explain it.

Cyberstalker Alert: Spotting Dangerous Friends and Followers

By Wendy L. Patrick, Ph.D. on November 26, 2017 in Why Bad Looks Good
Take note of online strangers who have become overly familiar with your personal information. The next step is contact—with an unrealistic expectation of reciprocity.

“Don't I Know You?” How Curious Strangers Become Stalkers

By Wendy L. Patrick, Ph.D. on November 25, 2017 in Why Bad Looks Good
Familiarity breeds contentment. Be alert for signs that someone has formed a unilateral, imaginary relationship with you — and may expect something in return.

Interview with Janet Fitch: Why Historical Fiction?

By Jennifer Haupt on November 21, 2017 in One True Thing
"People think you get to this magical place where you know what you’re doing....But every novel is a completely new animal. You’re always a beginner. That makes it interesting."

The Wandering Eye and the Green-Eyed Monster

By David Ludden Ph.D. on November 11, 2017 in Talking Apes
New research shows that when people fantasize about illicit affairs, they often project their guilty feelings onto their partner.

When an Open Book Is Fiction: Detecting Dishonesty on a Date

By Wendy L. Patrick, Ph.D. on November 08, 2017 in Why Bad Looks Good
As much as you want to take the plunge of trust, don't believe everything you hear. Pacing, presentation, and pauses provide several ways to detect deception.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Imagine Talking to Yourself

Are you stumped about how to act or respond? Try an interior monologue to help you expose unconscious beliefs, pause, accept responsibility, and move on in a loving manner.

Our Curious Fascination With Serial Killers

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on October 23, 2017 in Wicked Deeds
Serial killers are larger-than-life popular culture celebrities due to the efforts of law enforcement authorities and the media which feed the public’s appetite for the macabre.

Interview With Jennifer Egan

By Jennifer Haupt on October 22, 2017 in One True Thing
"I always explore whether or not people can change, whether they can escape the circumstances of their past. Sometimes they can, sometimes they can’t."
Fotolit2/Purchased from Deposit Photos

An Often Forgotten Approach to Helping You With Fear

By Pamela D. Garcy Ph.D. on October 20, 2017 in Fearless You
Are fearful fantasies scaring you? Revising what you imagine might help.

Agreeing About Porn

By Ari Tuckman PsyD, MBA on October 19, 2017 in Sex Matters
Despite all the controversy, most people use porn responsibly, but romantic partners still need to agree about how it fits into their sex life.

The Role of Creepy Characters in Popular Culture

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on October 16, 2017 in Out of the Ooze
Watching disturbing people onscreen in the safety of a movie theater or in our living room may provide an opportunity for learning vicariously from the mistakes of others.

Believing in Ghosts, Goblins, and the Candy Witch

By Vanessa LoBue, Ph.D. on October 16, 2017 in The Baby Scientist
On Halloween, there is no doubt that children everywhere will have their minds on ghosts, goblins, and witches. But when do they learn that these characters aren't real?

The Psychology of Romantic Love

By Neel Burton M.D. on October 14, 2017 in Hide and Seek
Could romantic love be little more than an ego defence?
Random House

Our Memory Quirks: Are They for Us or against Us?

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on October 14, 2017 in Shadow Boxing
What if your recollections turned out to be false? Here's a book that tutors you on how your memory works (and doesn't).

Is This Fantasy Love or Authentic Love?

By Randi Gunther Ph.D. on October 13, 2017 in Rediscovering Love
People who seek authentic love know that successful relationships can never be based upon fantasy expectations.

Big Shot

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on October 04, 2017 in A Swim in Denial
A wealthy gambler uses an arsenal and a casino hotel to kill 58 concert-goers and himself, wounding hundreds. His actions can help us understand what it means to be human.

Creepy Halloween Destinations

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on October 01, 2017 in Out of the Ooze
There are a lot of creepy places in the world - and every one of them has a story.

Another Dark Side of 9/11: Manipulating Trauma for Sympathy

By Jean Kim M.D. on September 24, 2017 in Culture Shrink
The heartbreak of 9/11 held the nation's sympathy. For a few wayward souls, the temptation of receiving that powerful sympathy was worth lying for.

Earthquake Shock: Mexico’s Buried Schoolgirl Who Never Was

By Robert Bartholomew Ph.D. on September 21, 2017 in It's Catching
Vanishing Schoolgirl Likely Never Existed

Low Brain Cholesterol—Separating Fact from Fiction

By Georgia Ede MD on September 17, 2017 in Diagnosis: Diet
How vegan diets and cholesterol-lowering drugs affect mood and memory.