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

Why High School Stays With You Forever

For some of us, high school shines like an enchanted kingdom; for others, it is remembered as an endless Hell of daily torments. For most of us, it is something in between, but memorable nonetheless. Is it the collision between evolved psychological mechanisms and the nature of the modern high school that is to blame?

Freud had DP at the Acropolis; Today Teens at Venice Beach

By Elena Bezzubova on July 22, 2015 in The Search for Self
Physical and physiological stressors - bright light, overheating, dehydration, sudden climate change, spinning or fever - can precipitate fleeting feelings of unreality of oneself and the surrounding world. These transitory non-pathological episodes are characteristic for adolescents. Sometimes the episodes foreshow the full blown depersonalization-derealization syndrome.

Why Changing My Name Was & Wasn't the Worst Thing I Ever Did

By Anneli Rufus on July 21, 2015 in Stuck
I changed my name, regretted it for decades, then did something about it.

Transgender? Or TrueGender?

Being transgender is not a choice. Transgender people don’t choose to cross over and live as the other gender. They are, and always have been, the other gender. They have never felt aligned with the gender assigned at birth according to anatomy. The choice they do make is whether to live as their true gender or live a lie. This decision can be a matter of life and death.

Predicting Who We Will Be

By Julie K Hersh on July 20, 2015 in Struck By Living
After 25 years of marriage, I return to the Great Barrier Reef with my 19 year-old daughter to reflect back to who I thought I'd be.

"Do I Sound Gay?"

Why would a gay man dislike “sounding gay?” Why would “sounding less like a man” make a gay man view himself as inferior, unattractive, and undesirable? Why does "passing" as straight make a gay man feel good? Read on as we explore Internalized Homophobia - a very real but largely unseen, unheard, and unspoken psychological struggle that is experienced by many gay men.

The Espy Award

I was disgusted after reading so many ignorant and hateful comments on social media towards Caitlyn Jenner specifically, and transgender people generally. I learned that many people were really upset that Caitlyn Jenner won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, particularly over Lauren Hill, who was a college basketball player who died a few months ago of brain cancer.

A Deeper Look at the Evil Within

By Guest Bloggers on July 17, 2015 in Brainstorm
When ordinary people took on roles of prisoners and guards, even the researchers were shocked at what happened. With the release of a Stanford Prison Experiment movie, here's a look at the research surrounding the study people are still arguing about decades later.

What Race Is Rachel Dolezal?

Rachel Dolezal says she is black, but many others--whites and blacks, liberals and conservatives--disagree. What race is she really? How should we react to her claim?

What We Are Talking About When We Talk About Masculinity

By Rick Miller LICSW on July 15, 2015 in Unwrapped
The "new masculinity" includes strengthening a whole new set of muscles.

The Stanford Prison Experiment

Some 44 years ago, I conducted a research experiment that could have been the bane of my existence. Instead it spurred me on to research several topics: good vs evil, how our personal time perspectives affect our lives, and the self-imposed "prison," shyness. Now, The Stanford Prison Experiment is an award-winning feature film that has viewers questioning: What would I do?

Straight Men Who Have Sex With Other Men: In Their Own Words

The general public agrees men that have sex with other men must be “gay” (or at least bisexual). However, some of these men offer alternative explanations that do not challenge their identity as a heterosexual male.

Is it OK Not to Come Out?

“Is it ok NOT to come out?” In short, depending on the circumstances, the answer is sometimes yes.

Does Religion Have an Image Problem?

By Russ Gerber on July 09, 2015 in Our Health
What's going on in hearts and minds? Will it go public?

In Search of Consummation

Five hundred years ago, communities recreated themselves in moment sof privileged festivity. Now, we are encouraged to travel and shop afar for experiences, and to share these publicly as proof of who we have become. The best part of life ... is to the getaway, the period of glorious self-indulgence. How long before we plot our next excurision?

We Can Dream: A Marginalized Peoples Version of ‘Inside Out’

'Inside Out' is the nation's #1 movie. Critics and audiences are raving about it. Adults cry because of it. Even scientists applaud its scientific accuracy. But how reflective is it of marginalized peoples' minds and lived realities? What would the 'Inside Out' movie look like if it explored the inner workings and psychological experiences of marginalized peoples? Read on.

Are Gay & Lesbian Couples as Violent as Straight Couples?

As we achieve marriage equality for LGBTQ and heterosexual couples, the Data Doctor answers a question about the dark side of relationships.

The Confederate Flag: Heritage or Hate?

Do Confederate soldiers deserve monuments, flags, glory, and honor? Or is it time to dismantle Confederate monuments and remove the flag from the public arena?

Rejecting Islam

By Phil Zuckerman Ph.D. on July 06, 2015 in The Secular Life
Muslims who reject their religion face serious consequences

June 26 and the LGBT Phone Explosion

By Susan B. Winston LMFT on July 05, 2015 in Shift Happens
Cells phones were on fire on June 26 with the Supreme Court announcement making same sex marriage legal in all states. So were phones of many therapists. This was a day for coming out, not just saying "I do". And for some it was a day of wondering if they were LGBT or if their children were. So how do you answer those questions?

Depression Army™ Strong

I’m telling you that if I was able to talk about my depression, you can talk about yours. It feels good to finally drop the mask

"Bullying Fiction" Top Picks

Adolescence. At times synonymous with daily dramas…. until she takes her own life or he brings a gun to school—and uses it. This blog contains a list of books, fictional and/or autobiographical, that speak to these tragic scenarios, as well as to dysfunctional behaviors (including cutting and eating disorders) that are often linked to bullying.

Tongue-Tied: The Cost Of Silence

By Katherine Preston on July 01, 2015 in Out With It
What Orange Is The New Black and Humans of New York teach us about the sadness of choosing to be silent.

What Is Transgender? A Beautiful Short Film With an Answer

By Mark O'Connell L.C.S.W. on July 01, 2015 in Quite Queerly
Dylan is a short film written and directed by Elizabeth Rohrbaugh, and is based on a interview done with Dylan Winn Garner. The film follows a young trans man as he explains his story, his exploration in the trans community, his family's acceptance of his identity, and ultimately his physical and emotional transformation.

Facebook Rainbows

Rainbow colored Facebook images could help in some way to alter views towards homosexuality. At the very least, it shows support for a group of individuals who have been marginalized and made to feel less than for far too long. And I can imagine that that - even in such a small gesture as a colored profile pic- feels incredible.

Gay Men and Straight Men as Friends

For the straight guy, friendship with a gay man offers the opportunity to learn important lessons about masculinity, male identity, sexual orientation, and diversity. For the gay man, a relationship with a straight male friend can be healing.

Born in the USA

When the 4th of July comes around, do you find yourself getting all patriotic? That’s OK – it’s part of our evolved coalitional psychology. Read on to find out why!

#Love Wins . . . Marriage Equality Is for Real

It's about love and equality. That's about as simple as it can get.

Inside Out: A Psychologist's Take

By Jeremy Clyman Psy.D on June 25, 2015 in Reel Therapy
Why is the new animated film "Inside Out" so popular? It might have something to do with how the characters, which are a young girl's emotional states, are actually so much more....

Thoughts Wandering in an Estonian Cemetery

Do Estonians, because of their surnames, feel more closely connected to nature? And what would happen if the dead wrote their own inscriptions on gravestones?