What Is Personality Change?

We’ve all wished we could be someone else, whether it’s just polishing a few dull spots in our personality or fully rewriting the story of our lives, Jay Gatsby-style. If you're a procrastinator, you may have wished you could be more productive; if you're gloomy, you may have hoped you could be more optimistic; if you're shy, you may have longed to be the life of the party. Changing a core personality trait (such as introversion) is difficult, but you can change your behavior. It's never too late to do what you want to do, and with a little sweat and a little luck, you can break out of old patterns and be just who you want to be.

Recent posts on Personality Change

12 Things I Didn’t Expect to Happen As I Age

I’ve noticed some changes in my life as I age, and it’s been interesting to discover what a surprise each one is to me. Some things I’ve welcomed; others not so much.

Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury

By Jean Kim M.D. on September 27, 2017 in Culture Shrink
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a complex condition with a gray middle zone of prognosis that remains poorly understood. Psychosocial supports are crucial to maximum recovery.

What Does It Mean to Have a Personality Disorder?

By Loren Soeiro, Ph.D. ABPP on September 22, 2017 in I Hear You
Have you ever noticed a concerning trend in your relationships at work, with friends, and with family? Here's one way to think about what you might be bringing to the problem.

What Steals Our Sense of Humor?

By Anneli Rufus on September 22, 2017 in Stuck
What if we used to be funny, then stopped? Can we bring laughter back?

The Salvation of Psychiatry

By Robert Berezin M.D. on September 17, 2017 in The Theater of the Brain
Psychiatry should be grounded in that quest for truth. It has, however, lost its way.The Psychotherapy of Character is precisely this unified field theory for psychiatry

How Long Should Psychotherapy Last?

By Stephen Joseph Ph.D. on September 14, 2017 in What Doesn't Kill Us
A good psychotherapist won’t try to push clients to go faster than they can. To do so can feel threatening and, paradoxically, lead a client to become more entrenched.

“Never Again!” The Psychological Fallout of Trauma

By Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. on September 13, 2017 in Evolution of the Self
You're born with various survival programs (or defenses). Later, when you actually experience a serious threat, you acquire more defenses that can end up harming you.

Therapy for Borderline Personality: Why It Takes So Long

By David M. Allen M.D. on September 08, 2017 in A Matter of Personality
Understandable mistrust of the therapist, along with fear, shame and complex interactions with family members, make psychotherapy with BPD patients very complicated.

Keeping Your Job, Losing Your Identity

By Dawn R. Norris, Ph.D. on August 29, 2017 in The Next Step
What if others tell you that you’re not the employee you think you are?

Does a Person "Break Bad"?

Let's examine the premise of a smash hit entertainment series.
Ellen Kirschman

I'm a Police Psychologist: What was I Doing at San Quentin?

By Ellen Kirschman Ph.D. on August 05, 2017 in Cop Doc
I work with cops. Spending a day with prisoners was a new experience.

What Is a Meaningful Life?

Many consider life not to be meaningful enough. But reasons they present for this view are often problematic.

Unpacking David Lynch's Twin Peaks, The Return

By Judith Eve Lipton M.D. on July 22, 2017 in Peace and War
David Lynch's extraordinary TV series carries a serious message. It may also be the most ingenious and creative video of all time.
Roberta Satow

Writing as Self Development

By Roberta Satow Ph.D. on July 18, 2017 in Life After 50
How does writing promote the self development?

Varieties of Truth?

We operate with different standards of truth that harden into fixed “positions.” We must subject those standards – our own as well as others’ – to scrutiny.

Old Selves and New

By Loren Soeiro, Ph.D. ABPP on June 19, 2017 in I Hear You
Ever feel like one type of person in some relationships, and a completely different one in others? Here's how psychotherapy uses this phenomenon to bring about change and insight.

Early Childhood Memories: Endure or Drift Away?

How stable are early recollections, and why does it matter?

Status Update: Why Does Having Power Promote Promiscuity?

Why do powerful people often become scandalous headlines? Research supports a link between power and infidelity. Confidence increases perceived desirability and approach behavior.

Do You Feel Trapped By Your Social Roles?

By Roman Krznaric PhD on May 23, 2017 in How Should We Live?
The stories we tell ourselves about who we are can at times constrain us. So what should we do if we want to change the story and create a new narrative of who we want to be?

Conspiracy Pathology

Conspiracy theories shade into mental illness, as in the dream that destroyed David Crowley and family. The ambiguity that gives conspiracy thinking power also invites delusion.
Public Domain

The Creative Process of Psychotherapy

Effective psychotherapy is a mutual creative process between therapist and patient.

Clearing Out Weeds and Nurturing Buds of Change

If we really want to change, we must work to clear the weeds that get in the way of our mental health and nurture the innate strengths that are there. A balanced approach is key.

The Emerging Science of Awe and Its Benefits

By Emma Stone, Ph.D. on April 27, 2017 in Understanding Awe
Move over happiness, there's another emotion that boasts myriad benefits for health, wellbeing and social connectedness

Warning: This Drug May Kill You

In this beautiful and sorrowful HBO documentary, we crisscross this country to meet families who represent today’s victims of the opioid epidemic.
Pablo Calvog/Shutterstock

Attracted to Someone Not Your Type? Here’s Why

By Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W. on April 16, 2017 in Fixing Families
Sometimes you find yourself suddenly attracted to someone who is not your usual type. Here's why and what to do.
Simon & Schuster

Pseudocide: The Art of Faking Your Death

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on April 04, 2017 in Shadow Boxing
Writer explores those who want to fake their deaths, those who hunt them down, those who fail and those who succeed. Everything you want to know but were afraid to ask.
Felix Burton/Flickr

Believing in Change for More Than Good Grades

By Ross E O'Hara, Ph.D. on April 03, 2017 in Nudging Ahead
Efforts to foster growth mindsets have taken hold in higher education. But it might be time for us to think beyond growth mindsets to help college students thrive.
Carl Pickhardt Ph. D.

Adolescence and Braving the Displeasure of Parents

Parents tends to find the adolescent more displeasing than the child because the teenager is now pushing for more room to grow in ways they may disapprove and find disappointing.
Wider Film Projects

God Knows Where I Am

This documentary takes us into the life of Linda Bishop, and her family and caregivers. She was found dead in a New Hampshire home several months after her hospital discharge.

Can Intelligence or Personality Compensate for Disadvantage?

Can intelligence or personality compensate for background disadvantage in predicting later life outcomes?