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

James Alcock

We Are Our Beliefs

By James E. Alcock Ph.D. on February 14, 2018 in Belief
Who do you believe you are? And can you be certain?

Identity in Borderline Personality Disorder: A New Approach

Borderline personality disorder is often thought of in terms of early development of the self. A new measure of identity shows the continuing role of identity in adulthood.

Trans Teens Face Discrimination at School—and the DMV

This week, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in Alabama for driver’s licenses to reflect individuals' gender identity. Fighting this battle is only one of many for transgender youth.

The Meaning and Meaninglessness of Genealogy

By Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D. on January 29, 2018 in Beastly Behavior
Americans by the millions are pursuing their genealogy and bio-geographical ancestry. But what can this tell us that we don't already know?
Google search

Presidential and Olympian Scandals: Why Are We Complicit?

By Steven Huprich, Ph.D. on January 26, 2018 in Personality Matters
How can our personalities make us complicit to victimization?
Gregor Maclennon/Flickr

The Psychology of Racism

By Steve Taylor Ph.D. on January 19, 2018 in Out of the Darkness
Racism is not "natural." It is a psychological defense mechanism that some people use in response to feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.
Used by permission from Pinterest.

Why Pro Sports Make Us Cry

By Steve Albrecht DBA on January 15, 2018 in The Act of Violence
Watching your football team lose can bring anger and tears.

Media Coverage Can Change Minds

Identifying as American may be a key factor in how you respond to coverage of Trump's policies.

Seeking Justice or Enhancing a Victimized Identity?

By Gregg Henriques Ph.D. on January 10, 2018 in Theory of Knowledge
There is always a potential tension between seeking justice and emphasizing a victim narrative.

The Big Split

By Sarah C. Newcomb Ph.D. on January 08, 2018 in Loaded
Here’s what you need to know about the psychology of money when it comes to splitting up.

Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on January 06, 2018 in Talking Apes
Belief in conspiracy theories can satisfy important psychological needs for some people. We need to understand this first before confronting a believer with facts.
Arthur S. Siegel/Library of Congress

Is Inequality a Person Problem?

How do we explain inequality?

You Don’t Really Want to Get Better

Of course psychotherapy clients want relief from their symptoms. Yet, they are reluctant to change the defenses that would allow them to overcome their psychological maladies.

A Cultural Necessity: The APA's New Multicultural Guidelines

By Mariel Buque M.A. on December 28, 2017 in Unpacking Race
New multicultural guidelines for the APA.
By ParaDox(Wikimedia Commons)

Transgender, Genderqueer, and Mental Health

We need to better understand what is most important—gender or sex—if we are to reduce the mental health problems of transgender youth.

How Our Sexual Self-Image Influences Attachments

By Grant Hilary Brenner M.D. on December 20, 2017 in ExperiMentations
Sexual self-concept helps us understand how our attachment style affects satisfaction whether we are single or partnered.

A Gameplan for Combating Oppression

How work on race can inform efforts to combat class divisions.

Professional Handling of Title IX Sexual Misconduct

By Bernard J. Luskin, Ed.D., LMFT on December 14, 2017 in The Media Psychology Effect
Sexual harassment and discrimination make trained Title IX GateKeepers essential. Here’s why.

Our Divided America

By Gregg Henriques Ph.D. on December 11, 2017 in Theory of Knowledge
We need to face fully the divide in this country and use the principles of family therapy to move in a new and more productive direction.
iclipart, used with permission

Multiple Personality or Malingering?

By Joni E Johnston Psy.D. on December 11, 2017 in The Human Equation
What happens when a person with multiple personalities kills? Pamela Moss claimed her alters were linked to two murders committed years apart but insisted she, the host, was not.

Changing Your Sense of Identity

By Lisa Firestone Ph.D. on December 04, 2017 in Compassion Matters
How can we challenge a prescribed sense of identity, peel back the layers, and find out who we really are?

Are You Living With an Accidental Identity?

By Lisa Firestone Ph.D. on November 30, 2017 in Compassion Matters
While we can change our identity at any point in life, in order to live freely as our truest selves, we have to explore the early influences that injured our sense of who we are.

What Should Psychology Be?

By Gregg Henriques Ph.D. on November 28, 2017 in Theory of Knowledge
Since the American Psychological Association released a retrospective on the past 125 years in the field, right now is a great time to look toward the future.
Frank Vincentz (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Dude-Sex, Bud-Sex, Mostly Straight Sex

Male-male sex could be opportunistic, a means to prove one’s heterosexuality and masculinity, or a sexual/romantic orientation and identity.

Why We Might Feel Lonely Around Narcissism

By Grant Hilary Brenner M.D. on November 13, 2017 in ExperiMentations
Experiencing an unstable sense of self is a challenging experience on many levels. Empathy in narcissism is shaped by sense of self, as researchers are exploring.

The "T" in LGBTQ

By Jennifer O’Brien Ph.D. on November 07, 2017 in All Things LGBTQ
An annotated guide to some definitions and terminology related to variations in gender identity.
Rebecca [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What Everyone Should Know About Pansexuality

Pansexuality offers teenagers an opportunity not to rule out anyone solely because of sex or gender. It explodes traditional categorical identities: straight, bisexual, and gay.

The Masks We Wear

With halloween approaching, we enthusiastically search for "the perfect mask". Similarly, adolescents adopt different identities and styles. How can we best support our teens?

Psychotherapy in the Trump Era

The forces shaping our politics are also shaping our therapies.

What Does Identity Have to Do With Inequality?

Does identity explain inequality?