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

How Does Culture Affect Our Happiness?

Culture shapes what happiness means to us and how we pursue it.

The Psychology Behind How Young People Vote

Young people will have more power to influence U.S. elections and policy than at any other time in recent history. How do they vote differently from older adults?

When Your Relationship Ends, How to Find the Silver Lining

Getting over the end of your relationship can be a difficult process, but finding the silver lining will help you move on.

Stop Trying to Build Your "Personal Brand"

Diverting time and energy to "personal branding" may be a substitute for dealing with more important issues.

6 Openings for Talking to Kids About Sex and Gender

By Karen L Smith MSS, LCSW on May 19, 2016 in Full Living
We want to be one of the people our kids talk to about sex, sexuality, orientation and gender. Even if it terrifies us.

Where Do You Really Come From?

What you say when people ask you where you're from says a lot about how you view yourself—and how you view others.

The Struggle to Unlearn Psychology

Many millennials have minimal exposure to extinction situations, because someone constantly reinforced them.

Sex and Gender Are Dials (Not Switches)

Science and sexual diversity: Explaining complex combinations sex and gender

Helping Boys Become Ethical Men

Boys become adults at the same time they head off to college. Here's how to make this transition more intentional to help boys become healthy and ethical men.
Leeroy/stocksnap

Is Transracial Adoption Harmful to Kids?

Research has found little evidence of harm from being raised in an adoptive family of a different race.

What to Do About Math Anxiety?

By Garth Sundem on May 11, 2016 in Brain Trust
Your brain and surroundings can both cause and cure math anxiety.

This Is the One Question You Have to Ask Yourself

It's easier to make tough decisions when you have a clear definition of success.
Antonioguillem / Adobe Stock

Why Your Past Matters

I’ll give you 4 practical reasons to stop living just for the future and give your past a little love.

How to Find Your New Self After Breakup

It can feel like the only way you will get through the next minute is to hear your ex’s voice: Like they are the anchor that brings you back to who you understand yourself to be.

Taiwan Love Boat Doc Sets Sail, Its Mind on a New Romance

A new film explores how often marginalized Asian Americans found identity and camaraderie - and parties on Taiwan's famed "Love Boat". Help make this film happen!

What Really Motivates the Presidential Candidates?

What do these presidential candidates really stand for? Here's a new framework to guide you.

25 Things to Know About Your Partner Before You Tie the Knot

“If I knew that about him (or her) before we got married, I wouldn’t have been so quick to go ahead with the wedding".
Pixabay free image, used with permission

Random Love: To Hook Up or to Not Hook Up?

By Madelon Sprengnether on May 06, 2016 in Minding Memory
Who could have predicted that girls today would know less than women of my generation about their bodies and how to gratify their own desires?
Fetish Couture | by Bea Serendipity via Flickr, Labeled for Reuse

No, You Cannot Eradicate a Fetish

Evidence says fetishes can't be eliminated through psychotherapy, but many mental health practitioners still use harmful and antiquated techniques.
Stock image, labeled for reuse with modification

Sexuality Is Much More Fluid Than You Think

How fluid is sexuality? A lot more than you may think.

Why Intersex and Transgender Are Very Different

By Paul Joannides Psy.D. on April 30, 2016 in As You Like It
People hear way more about Transgender than they do Intersex, while Intersex is important to know about.

Are We All Hypocrites?

Is hypocrisy bad, or is it in fact just the natural state of the human psyche?

8 Ways to Convince Yourself You're an Exerciser

By Linda Wasmer Andrews on April 28, 2016 in Minding the Body
The way you define your identity has a major impact on how you behave. Here’s how to make “exerciser” a core part of your identity, especially if you haven't been active for long.

3 Strategies for Troubled Teens

Replace a troubled personal identity with a more rewarding vocational identity.

Bisexual Health Disparities

15% of the public claims bisexuality doesn't exist, and many others hold unrealistic beliefs about this demographic. Physical and mental health consequences are the result.

One Immigrant Woman's Story: What I Heard About Ellis Island

Some people cried because we would never see our homeland again in our lifetime except in our dreams. But I looked back and spit.
photoagent/Shutterstock

Do You Have to Love Yourself Before Someone Else Can?

By Erica B Slotter Ph.D. on April 21, 2016 in Me, You, & Us
Loving yourself is traditionally viewed as crucial in your ability to love others. That said, what does it mean to "love yourself" in a way that benefits your relationships?

Men's Lives: The Confluence, Fly-Fishing, Tall Tales and Art

The Confluence, a new book about men's lives, reminds us that life's most rewarding journeys don't have to involve danger or loss.

Paul Ricoeur and Narrative Identity

By Paul Rhodes Ph.D. on April 13, 2016 in Post Clinical
Personal identity is mediated by language.

Art Therapist: Ambassador in the Prison Subculture

To provide care within the primitive prison subculture, the art therapist must act as an ambassador and compromise with the foreign dynamics—the trick is to not appear to do so.