All About Identity

"We contain multitudes," wrote Walt Whitman, referring not to the highly contested diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder but to the fact that we see ourselves radically differently in different contexts. Everyone struggles with that existential plum, "Who am I?" For people who are overly concerned with other people's impressions, or who feel a core aspect of themselves, such as gender or sexuality, is not being expressed, this struggle is acute.

Recent Posts on Identity

Beyond the Divided Self: Why Mental Conflict Is Normal

Although inner conflict has traditionally been pathologized, the diametric model shows it to be normal.

Tattoos and Identity

A website urges you to tattoo a song lyric on "your skin and soul." What's going on?

Torture and the Identity of Psychology

By Gregg Henriques on May 02, 2015 in Theory of Knowledge
The torture fiasco is partly a function of the APA being very confused about the identity of psychology and psychologists.

Finding Meaning Through Mental Time Travel

Imagine returning to the home where you grew up, opening the door, and walking right back into your childhood or youth? What would you learn about yourself and your life story? How would you live your life differently today?

Don't Just Ask Bruce Jenner for Answers, Ask Yourself

The more we understand our own relationships to gender, the more room we have to live with freedom, with authenticity, with a sense of integration, and the less we scapegoat our marginalized sisters and brothers who are targeted, discriminated against, and attacked.

9-Man Doc Showcases Chinese-American Male Identity in Sports

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on April 30, 2015 in The Pacific Heart
A talk with the creator of "9-Man," an award-winning documentary about a version of volleyball played in Chinese American communities for a century.

How Big a Fan Are You?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on April 27, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Being a devoted fan often means developing a sense of "belonging" to a larger fan community. That sense of belonging is definitely going to shape the sense of identity that many fans have and it helps explain the enthusiasm you often see at fan conventions, music concerts, and sports arenas around the world.

Rocket Science for Space Cadets

By Lara Honos-Webb Ph.D. on April 21, 2015 in The Gift of ADHD
If you take your "unrealistic" ideas and remind yourself the stakes are high for following through and focus on completion, you can make your own reality. Stop shooting yourself in the foot by pretending the stakes are not high.

Making a Change? Remember the Key Ingredient!

When I listen to people speak about changes they are making, they often speak as if they have no control. They say things like “I’ll have to wait and see what happens” or “I just hope things go back to the way they were.” These statements indicate a passivity—a sense of inaction. They forget they have core internal qualities that give them some control.

Why I Can't..... or Why Can't I?

Our beliefs and thoughts impact our lives more than any relationship.It would be wise to evaluate how we came to them and whether they truly serve us.

Being a Book Lover

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on April 20, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Being a heavy reader is far less common than it used to be. European surveys suggest that leisure reading has dropped significantly in favour of watching television, for example. Still, books can have a powerful influence on readers. A new research study shows there are far more benefits to reading than you might think.

Developmental Dislike of Parents During Early Adolescence

One function of adolescence is to grow parent and adolescent apart. Dislike of parents is part of what allows this social separation to occur. Most important for parents to remember is that this loss of liking for parents does not mean any lessening of of adolescent love.

We’ve Been Warned!

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on April 19, 2015 in Time Out
The precursors of group violence, terrorism and even genocide have been identified. Despite extreme cultural and religious differences between the terrorist of Oklahoma City and 9/11 - they emerged from ideologically similar muck that continues to produce horrific mass murderers internationally. We hate to face it, but we must.

"Burn Book": An App for Bullying

For those over 30, or without teenage children, the term “Burn Book” may have no meaning. 0thers will recognize it as the iconic Treasury of Nastiness from the movie Mean Girls. Now it has become an app—one that enables anonymous bullying in specific, selected communities:

Will You Be Openly Secular?

By David Niose on April 19, 2015 in Our Humanity, Naturally
Openly Secular Day aims to encourage nonbelievers to be open about their personal secularity.

Identifying with the “No-Self”

If we can live one moment at a time, we’ll free ourselves like a young child and we’ll discover life can be beautiful. The small changes add up and make a difference.

Fifty Shades of Gay

By Rick Miller LICSW on April 17, 2015 in Unwrapped
An ever-widening spectrum of choices and possibilities means that the gay community is truly taking on all of the colors of the rainbow, every shade and hue.

What Your Facebook Use Reveals About Your Personality

Research shows the way you interact on social media says a lot about your personality and your self-esteem.

What Causes You Inner Turmoil?

Being in heated conflict not with others but with yourself can—let’s face it—be agonizing. To be split down the middle, to endlessly waver between two (and sometimes more) options, can at its worst be almost unimaginably distressing. Obsessive to an extreme, it can lead to a paralysis of will (not to mention, much lost sleep). . . .

Cyberbullying? There’s an App for That

In the 2004 teen comedy “Mean Girls,” a central plot point is a notebook filled with vicious rumors and gossip — the “Burn Book,” it is called. Now the concept has been taken into the social media age with the “Burnbook” app.

How The Politics of Memory Affects Us All

By Sam Osherson Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Listen Up!
How our society remembers history affects our sense of identity and well-being. The current controversy about remembering the Vietnam War trickles through families up to the present day, and shapes what kind of future our children will encounter.

Expanding the Self

We should reciprocate the gift of our own lives..... To be focused narrowly - worrying excessively about our personal skills and accomplishments and about the public's regards of these - is to remain forever a child.

Why We'll Give Up Everything, Just to Be Right!

Why are we constantly explaining--to ourselves--why we’re right and why someone else is wrong. Is being right really more important than being present, or real?

Overweight as a Hollywood Character

By Ann Goebel-Fabbri PhD on April 14, 2015 in Weighty Matters
This partly satirical essay uses a mainstream Hollywood film as a subtle example of weight stereotyping.

Net Losses

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on April 14, 2015 in In Excess
A number of market research reports have indicated that many office employees spend at least one hour of their day at work on various non-work activities (e.g., booking holidays, shopping online, posting messages on social networking sites, playing online games, etc.) and costs businesses millions of dollars a year. But what can be done to prevent it?

When a Peacekeeper Becomes a War Fighter

By Ray Williams on April 12, 2015 in Wired for Success
What happens to a country’s image abroad and the self-image of the people within it, when it changes from peaceful well being to aggressive actions against the environment and other countries?

Kicking an Abuser Out of Your Life, and Out of Your Head

Kicking an Abuser Out of Your Life, and Out of Your Head. Ending an abusive relationship requires leaving physically and psychologically. By Avigail Gordon , M.A.

Business As Unusual

Bring it or blow it. Can you stand the feeling of intimacy and closeness in a new business relationship? Does this throw you off your game and make you back off, or blow it? In this entry we address how it is that irrelationship can trigger old, and familiar anxieties, kick up old song-and-dance routines, and ultimately, cause you to fail in your entrepreneurial efforts.

Her Marriage, and His

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on April 11, 2015 in The Prime of Life
Why it is so hard to make a marriage last.

10 Great Ways to Get to Know New People Without Awkwardness

Icebreakers are a traditional way to overcome the original awkwardness that many people feel when they first form a group. Whether it’s with a class, a set of co-workers, or a volunteer committee, a little psychology will go a long way toward building group cohesion and identity.