Psychologists and their mental illnesses

Marsha Linehan's disclosure of her mental illness is an inspiration for psychologists.

The Therapists of Christmas Past, Present, and Future

Scrooge is often taken as a symbol of miserliness, but more primary is his self-imposed isolation and disconnection from other humans. Helping people soften their self-imposed barriers to connection is one of the ends to which therapy is best suited. In n the course of one long night before Christmas, Scrooge is fortunate enough to receive the equivalent of years of therapy - delivered by one ghost and three spirits.

The Law of Attraction: Science, Faith, and the Cult of Positive Thought. Part 1.

The law of attraction offers a simple solution to all of life's problems. In the process, it promises us the idealized infancy we never had.

Relationship break-ups: truths, distortions, and negative emotions

Breakups raise primal negative feelings: guilt, sadness, anger, and fear. When people try to manage these bad emotions, they try to figure out what caused them, and often - erroneously - they blame themselves or their partner.

Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Improv

Improv provides valuable counter-conditioning to help people face life's pressures. Here are some of the lessons every improvisor is taught, and every person should know.

Self-esteem: a zero-sum game?

A. H. Maslow took self-esteem as synonymous with (self-perceived) dominance. If you believe that self-esteem is basically the same thing as dominance, you would have to agree that it would be just as impossible for everyone to have high self-esteem just as it would be for everyone to have social dominance.

How to help a depressed friend (and when to stop trying): part 1

It is perfectly apparent to us that our depressed friend's life isn't completely hopeless, but when we try to tell him that he has reasons for hope, he feels invalidated and frustrated. Is it possible for both him and us to feel heard?

Valentines from the ones who’ve hurt us: a matter of pain or hope?

A single woman in her mid to late thirties has always cherished the goals of being a wife and mother. Her first date in ten years virtually stopped communicating with her, but sent her a valentines card, which brought her renewed pain, but also hope.

Unfashionable Advice to the Bereaved

Bereaved people carry a double burden: the pain of loss, and the pain and awkwardness of living in sadness among people who almost invariably would prefer not to hear about it. Bereaved people are acutely sensitive to others’ anxiety and avoidance and discomfort around their suffering. Many choose to remain silent rather than to disturb others.

Give negative emotions a place at the table

In the eponymous fairytale, Sleeping Beauty's parents throw a joyous party to celebrate her long-awaited birth. They only have twelve place settings, so they invite twelve of the kingdom's thirteen wise women. The thirteenth wise woman, who is ill-tempered and lives in a remote corner of the kingdom, is not invited to the party. The way that the parents treated the thirteenth sister is the way many of us treat sadness and other negative emotions.

The pursuit of happiness and its dark side

Mainstream American culture has a real thing for happiness. We believe happiness to be the most important goal of human life. We also believe that people (at least those who are strong, self-reliant, hard-working, and virtuous enough) can achieve happiness if they pursue it. Unfortunately, our beliefs in the importance and achievability of happiness result in dysfunctional beliefs about the meaning of unhappiness.