When All Else Fails,Try Reverse Psychology!

Many years ago I wrote a text for therapists on employing paradoxical therapeutic techniques—for the most part, more intricate and refined versions of reverse (or negative) psychology. The book,*Paradoxical Strategies in Psychotherapy*, was primarily about motivating (though deviously!) highly resistant clients and families to change dysfunctional behaviors.

A New Take on Manipulation

There may be times when you’re strongly motivated to assist someone who genuinely needs your help. Yet, for whatever reasons, they turn down all your straightforward attempts. Might it then be okay to “manipulate” them into compliance?—that is, for their own good?

What’s “Wall-Socket Sex”?!

I first encountered this intriguingly provocative term in reading the eminent sex/relationship therapist David Schnarch’s *Passionate Marriage*. But what, exactly, does “wall-socket sex” refer to? And assuming that you yourself might aspire to such electrically charged eroticism, just how might you go about achieving it? . . .

Two Ways to "Win" in a No-Win Situation

My title probably sounds paradoxical, something like a trick question. And in fact trick questions—similar to Catch-22s, double binds, conundrums, and quandaries—are all terms describing a lose-lose, or no-win, scenario. So can you escape the inescapable? . . .

One Marriage = Two Realities

No matter who you marry, there’s one thing you can count on. Unless you’re able to create an opposite-sex clone of yourself, then walk down the aisle with it (and the technology doesn’t exist yet!), the person you wed will bring with them a reality that at times will feel alien—even unacceptable—to you. . . .

Why People Don't Acknowledge You

More often than not, people don’t—or won’t—acknowledge you for your contributions and accomplishments. Though it might seem almost intuitive that people would be glad to give what they’d greatly appreciate getting themselves, this typically isn’t the case.

"When God Wept": An Intriguing Fictional Hybrid

If ever there were a day deserving to be called—secularly—a “day of reckoning,” this would be the day for Owen Ross, the 47-year-old atheist narrator. For it is on this fateful day that he's compelled to re-live and re-evaluate unresolved traumas from his past.

Couples—Stop Fighting Over Money!

No question about it. Fighting about money is hazardous to your relationship. Obviously, couples fight about many things—from child rearing, to sex, to household chores, to dealing with in-laws. But, above everything else, frequency of money disputes remains the single best predictor of divorce.

Celebrity Quotes on Divorce—And They Should Know

Many of these quotes aren’t so much droll or funny as they are uniquely revealing about the particular celebrity from whom they’re taken. The varied feelings expressed—from wistfulness and regret, to thinly veiled anger or rage—add an intriguingly personal aspect to our understanding of their lives off camera.

The Wittiest Quotes on Divorce

Many of the quotes below—cleverly poking fun at both marriage and divorce—admittedly have an abrasive edge to them. We may laugh at their wry observations, yet not be entirely comfortable doing so. For when speakers and writers (who may well have split up themselves) talk about divorce, they frequently betray a certain resentment and bitterness.

The Most Heartfelt Quotes on Divorce

I think the quotes offered here will touch you—especially if you've ever gone through a painful break up. They speak poignantly of so many emotions experienced in this wrenching process: like grief and mourning (for hopes and dreams that can now never be realized); shock, bewilderment, guilt, regret and remorse, acrimony and antipathy . . . and downright devastation.

Value the Means, Not Just the End

If you’re like most of us, you’re driven to accomplish certain goals—goals that are personally meaningful to you. It doesn’t much matter whether the end of your pursuits is completing a manuscript or a marathon. And your “payoff,” your “high,” revolves around your final achievement. . . .

Grade Your Parents! The 10 Crucial Criteria

It’s generally accepted that many of the challenges you now face may stem from your upbringing. Typically, they derive from what your parents—because of unresolved psychological issues from their own upbringing—were unable to provide you with, or instill in you. Here are 10 elements that are the essence of adequate childhood nurturing.

Greed: The Ultimate Addiction

Of all the things one might be addicted to, nothing tops the greed-laden pursuit of wealth in its sheer audacity, manipulativeness, and gross insensitivity to the needs and feelings of others.

Flirt vs. Tease: What's the Difference?

The overlapping terms "flirt" and "tease" are sometimes used interchangeably. So clearly distinguishing between them can be confusing, or downright tricky. But psychologically—and even morally—they can be worlds apart.

Rebuffed? 4 Reasons Someone Might Reject Your Help

When you try to help someone—or, for that matter, give them something—it can feel like a personal affront when they turn you down. It's useful to explore why they say no.

Are You a Victim of Predatory Capitalism?

Though admirable as a humanist ideal, study after study has shown that in the real world socialism doesn’t work very well. Sadly, it leaves workers insufficiently motivated to put forth their best effort. Capitalism, on the other hand...

Feel Attacked? The Most Powerful Defense You'll Ever Have

Whenever someone turns on you, there’s one thing you can do that, almost immediately, will emotionally protect you. If, that is, you can do it immediately.

How—And How Not—to Stand Up for Yourself

It’s become conventional wisdom that it’s essential to stand up for yourself. But there are ways of doing so that are hardly advisable. Ways that will hurt both you and your relationship. Ways that will prevent you from confronting the person most needing to be confronted—yourself.

A Powerful Two-Step Process to Get Rid of Unwanted Anger

When—without warning—something provokes your anger, you may struggle not to succumb to it. Since what typically makes you mad is feeling powerless in the face of what seems unfair, your anger is mostly an attempt at a “quick fix” to right the balance.

The Double-Edged Sword of Desire, Quotes, Part 2

The first part of this quote-filled post on desire focused on its many positive aspects. And with so many writers persuasively indicating its exceptional power to motivate us—to enable us not simply to aspire to, but also to reach, our most coveted goals—you might well ask: "What exactly is its downside?"

The Double-Edged Sword of Desire, Quotes, Part 1

If ever there were an emotion or state of mind laden with apparent contradictions, it would have to be Desire. For although desire is typically linked to excited anticipation, motivation, and drive, it also relates to longing, frustration, and disillusionment.

Internet Porn: Its Problems, Perils, and Pitfalls

In my 12-part series on human sexual desire, I’ve discussed our richly varied carnal appetites and how the porn industry seeks to gratify them. In this final post, I’ll offer a perspective on what, practically, all this means for porn consumers—and those near them. Overall, the picture is somewhat alarming.

Six Recent Innovations in Porn and Erotica

Producers of Internet erotica and pornography can generally turn a sizeable profit if they’re able to craft sexually supercharged images, videos, and fiction. And to satisfy seekers’ endless quest for carnal excitement, these entrepreneurs have generated paranormal stimuli brimming with powerful erotic cues.

Dominant or Submissive? The Paradox of Power in Sexual Relationships

This series of posts has uncovered many rarely recognized ironies and paradoxes about human sexual desire. But perhaps the most fascinating and beguiling among them are the apparent contradictions that exist in the realm of sexual roles: namely, dominant, submissive . . . or both.

Gay or Straight, A Male Is a Male Is a Male

Obviously, one major discrepancy exists between the sexual arousal cues that distinguish gays from straights. Yet the fascinating—and little recognized—similarities between them suggest that a gay’s “sexual psyche” is far more complementary to a heterosexual male's than contrasting to it.

The Secret,Taboo Aspects of Male Sexual Desire

Through millions of anonymous Internet searches, men have repeatedly divulged some rather curious sexual interests. I’d like to focus here on certain erotic predilections that most people would agree slip into the realm of the forbidden — and pornographic.

You Can’t Much Help What Turns You On

You might assume that many, if not most, sexual preferences are culturally determined. But after reviewing the latest research on the subject, I've little doubt that the evidence strongly supports a quite different conclusion.

Internet Rule #34—Or, What’s Normal in Sex?

“If you can imagine it, there’s porn of it.” That’s about the simplest definition of this most evocative of Internet-linked axioms.

Paradox and Pragmatism in Women’s Sexual Desire

It’s intriguing—if not downright mystifying—how a woman’s mind and body, sexually speaking, can be at war with one another. It’s doubtless true that, however indiscriminately, Nature wants babies. But women require that many conditions be met before they’re actually ready to give in to their powerful mating instincts.