Denial and the De-Souling of Psychotherapy: A Reply to "Is Psychotherapy Dying?"

Psychotherapy is dying. Psychotherapy's very survival is critically threatened. That is not the question. The only real questions are these: What are we going to do? Can psychotherapy be saved? If its demise is inevitable, can psychotherapy be resurrected? Must psychotherapy in its current incarnation die and be reborn in some renewed, more vital form? How can we restore psychotherapy's soul?

You Do Therapy With Dead People? : Demystifying Forensic Psychology

Let's begin with another word association experiment: What first comes to mind when you hear the phrase forensic psychology? How many of you are right now wondering whether (and how!) forensic psychology deals with dead people? You are not alone. What exactly is forensic psychology? Who can practice it? What is its contribution? And why is it suddenly so hot?

Essential Secrets of Psychotherapy : Fate, Destiny and Responsibility

Do you believe in fate? Destiny? If fate does exist, how much responsibility must we accept for our lives? Are we responsible for everything that occurs to us, or do we bear little or no responsibility for a cosmically, theologically or genetically preordained destiny?

Essential Secrets of Psychotherapy : In Praise of Perfectionism

Perfectionism has taken a bum rap. How has perfectionism and its virtues come to be so devalued and vilified in our day?

Essential Secrets of Psychotherapy : Change or Acceptance?

Let's start with a simple word association experiment: When you think about psychotherapy, what is the first word that comes to mind to describe what therapy is all about?

Essential Secrets of Psychotherapy : What's Your Psychological Type?

Here is a quick, easy and fairly accurate way to determine your own basic typology: When you're down, stressed, burnt-out, overwhelmed, drained or exhausted, what works best to recharge your battery?

Essential Secrets of Psychotherapy : Repetitive Relationship Patterns

One of the most common phenomena psychotherapists deal with is a chronic pattern of dysfunctional relationships. The therapeutic question becomes: Why would anyone persist in pursuing relationships that are doomed to failure?

Terror in Tokyo: Is There Method to Madness?

What causes someone to one day go out and kill as many apparently random victims as they can? Here in this country, we've seen this pattern repeatedly in recent years: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, the Omaha mall shootings, etc. Just this past Sunday, it happened in Japan, a country where violent crime rates are far lower than those in the United States and other industrialized nations.

Essential Secrets of Psychotherapy : The Inner Child

The archetypal Jungian notion of the puer aeternus (male) or (female) puella aeterna--the eternal child--provides the basis for what has come in pop psychology and self-help movements  to be known as the "inner child." What exactly is this so-called inner child? Does it truly exist? And why should we care?

Sex Wars: How Do Women and Men REALLY Feel About Each Other? (Part Three)

Prickly defense mechanisms serve to protect the insecure, vulnerable, narcissistically injured individual, in much the same way real thorns protect a rose's delicate petals: We may successfully fend off (e.g., offend) those persons by whom we might someday be hurt emotionally; but, in so doing, we imprison ourselves within thorny castles of our own creation.

Sex Wars: How Do Women and Men REALLY Feel About Each Other? (Part Two)

Since men and women are of opposite gender, we naturally make excellent targets on which to cast not only idealized images of the perfect man or woman, but also our own most denied, despised, repudiated personal qualities and negative associations to the opposite sex: our contrasexual shadow, our anima or animus.

Sex Wars: How Do Women and Men REALLY Feel About Each Other? (Part One)

What's happening in the perennial "war between the sexes"? While women and men daily love, live and work together in apparent peaceful co-existence, subterranean resentment, anger and rage rumble just below the surface. What stimulates such antagonism, anger and rage between the sexes?

Messiahs of Evil (Part Three)

In Jungian terms, Osama bin Laden may be a classic case of inflation: a pathological over-identification with the Messiah archetype, the universally innate image of an embodied savior or chosen one.

Messiahs of Evil (Part Two)

 Radical Islam and violent terrorism (jihad) against the West and all it symbolizes--including perhaps his wealthy, thoroughly Westernized father--became bin Laden's raison d'etre.

Messiahs of Evil (Part One)

What makes someone like renegade Saudi millionaire-turned-international terrorist and would-be-exterminator of Western civilization Osama bin Laden tick? Might he display some specific mental disorder? Pathological narcissism? Paranoia? Sociopathy? Psychosis? Depression? Mania? Or is he another religious cult leader with a major messiah complex?
The Trauma of Evil

The Trauma of Evil

What are the emotional, existential and spiritual consequences of catastrophic phenomena such as cyclones, floods, famines, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other so-called acts of God?

Refreshment from Freud's Faucet: A Birthday Salutation

Sigmund Freud's "psychoanalysis" is the seminal fount from which all modern psychotherapy more or less springs. Tomorrow, May 6, is his birthday.

Sympathy for the Devil

At the time of her infamous crime, Andrea Yates was a devout Christian, devoted wife, and dedicated mother of five biblically named children--Mary, Luke, Paul, John and Noah-- ages 6 months to 7 years old. She had given up her career as a nurse, deciding, with her husband's support, to be a full-time mother and to home-school her children. All seemed to be going fine at first. But after the birth of her first child began her gradual descent into hell.

A Wicked Rage for Recognition

 Last Saturday, an eighteen-year-old senior at Chesterfield High School in South Carolina was arrested with ten pounds of explosives and a venom-filled journal containing plans to bomb his school and kill himself. Ryan Schallenberger is described as a quiet but " angry young man," who writes admiringly of the two students that carried out the Columbine massacre. Perhaps not coincidentally, yesterday, April 20, was the ninth anniversary of the mass shootings at Columbine High School.   

The Psychology of Psychopharmacology

How psychopharmacology and its implicit psychology is understood and employed in psychotherapy is key: Is medication used merely to deaden metaphorical demons? Or to support confronting and coming to terms with them?

Exorcism and the Endangered Future of Psychotherapy

Exorcism--the ritualistic expulsion of evil spirits inhabiting  body,  brain or place--has been practiced in some form throughout history, and is probably the prototype of modern psychotherapy. Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, was reputedly a trained exorcist.

Terrorism, Resentment and the Unabomber

Last week marked the twelfth anniversary of the arrest of Theodore "Ted" Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber. Kaczynski, as some may recall, was a mad bomber who killed three individuals and wounded twenty-three over a period of almost twenty years in a one-man terrorist attack against society. When I say Kaczynski was "mad," I mean that he was both angry and severely mentally ill. He was, evidently, also a boy genius.

Dangerous States of Mind

   Last Saturday night, forty-one-year-old Mark Castillo drowned his three children, ages 2, 4 and 6, in the bathtub of a Baltimore hotel room.