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

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?

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?

Why the Clinical Use of Psychedelics May Heal Sexual Trauma

Recent research indicates that psychedelics can assist in healing sexual trauma by increasing the personality trait of openness to new experiences.

For Those Who Want to Ring in the Fourth Millennium

How much would your personality change if you lived for a thousand years? And how much would it matter?

Has Your Therapist Been Replaced by a Robot?

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on February 28, 2017 in Feeling Our Way
A therapist who can’t pass the Turing Test (a computer’s ability to pass for human in conversation) should not be allowed to graduate.

Personality Traits, Emotional Intelligence and Collaboration

There is a strong connection between certain personality traits, emotional intelligence and collaborative potential.

Major Challenges to Cultivating Healthy Anger

What are the blocks to learning how to give up destructive anger? How can they be overcome?

David Bowie's Life at the Extremes

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on February 15, 2017 in In Excess
David Bowie was one of the most interesting people that ever lived. With an ever-shifting persona he sometimes lived life at the extremes (addiction and an interest in the occult)

Job Skills and Jobs Help, But They Are Not Enough

Do you think that acquiring job skills and a well-paying job prevents crime? Rarely is this true. Change is a lot more complicated.

11 Reasons Why We Fall in Love

We have the greatest propensity to fall in love when we perceive the other person as a way for us to undergo rapid self-expansion.

Why Growth Most Often Occurs When We Fall Apart

By Michael Aaron, Ph.D. on January 11, 2017 in Standard Deviations
An introduction to the theory of positive disintegration and why adversity is so important in developing character.

Redealing Personality Disorder Diagnoses

By Daniel J Winarick Ph.D. on December 30, 2016 in Personality Quotient
A new deal for DSM-VI may mean a new shuffle of diagnoses as well.

Post-Time War Stress Disorder: Doctor Who's Secret Symptom

Can the eponymous hero of "Doctor Who," the longest-running sci-fi TV series, help us understand PTSD?

Progress and the Human Psyche

Here is a question for you: which force will be in the driver’s seat of your heart, your mind, and your society? Entropy, homeostasis, or progress?

Do Your Trees Keep You From Recognizing Your Forest?

By Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. on November 16, 2016 in Evolution of the Self
It’s like not being able to see the forest for the trees. When you’re in the thick—or “thicket”—-of things, it’s hard to grasp the deeper dynamics of what’s going on in your life.

Giving Your Heart and Selling Your Soul

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on November 15, 2016 in In the Name of Love
It seems that when love is not all you need, it is unthinkable to give your soul.

Why Are We Offended by Media Violence?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on November 02, 2016 in Media Spotlight
A a new research study examines how viewers respond to media violence and what shapes their judgments about what they find offensive.