How Clinical Psychology Programs Get Wussified

Aren’t therapists supposed to be able to stomach strong emotion, confront conflict, keep calm, and carry on?

Treating William Shakespeare

Asking which of the things I did that worked and which didn’t is exactly the same as asking which things the patient does in response I should feel rewarded by.

Personality Disorders Explained 3: Treatment

Where most therapies capitalize on the alliance with the one part of the patient that agrees with the psychological formulation, therapists treating personality disorders are on their own.

Personality Disorders Explained 2: Origins

Every cognitive map of the social world also defines a role for the person to play; a personality disorder implies a limited number of acceptable roles.

Personality Disorders Explained: What They Are

A person with a personality disorder can be asymptomatic, but we should still use the label if dysfunction or distress would follow from a reasonably expectable change in the environment.

What Assessment Can Do and What It Can’t

When I hear that so-and-so is not the kind of person to do such-and-such, I wince.

Is Your Dream Too Expensive?

Many of our aspirations are compensatory, making up for something that life is not providing. If our dream comes true, it’s often at the cost of what life was providing.

Living on Thin Ice

You can enjoy your work if it produces reinforcement, but you can’t be replenished by it if you’re situation-conscious on the job.

Parenting Skills Depend on the Child

The first concern in any system of parenting skills should be a list of the child’s needs.

On Being the Main Character of Your Own Life

Many elderly people have lost their improvisational abilities, and reciting lines is the only kind of participation they can still muster.

Why I Don’t Care How the Brain Works

The human condition is not a medical condition.

Who Owns Your Body?

Much child development can be usefully construed as a transfer of ownership rights from others to the individual.

Torture, Psychology, and Nuremberg: Might Makes Right

The Nuremberg trials stand for the proposition that “he who holds the gun makes the rules.”

The Arc of Life in Supervision

Newton said he benefited from standing on the shoulders of giants; perhaps I have had the benefit of sitting on a few laps.

Self-Care Is for Girls

While women wrestle with the necessity and the shame of pursuing self-care, male professionals are on the golf course, reading science fiction, or watching SportsCenter.

We Shouldn’t Treat Mental Illness Like Physical Illness

“Of course you didn’t do the dishes, you poor dear; you have depression.”

Psychoanalytic Theory in One Sentence

What strategies do you use to maintain the illusion that you are only some of the things you are?

My Alcoholic Evening

Drinking is like any other behavior; its meaning can be understood only in relation to its function.

Trauma is Like a Horror Movie

If you’re in a horror movie and you act accordingly, your life is likely to remain a horror movie.

Should We Keep Our Disabled Child?

All parents can use a reminder in the middle of the night, while cleaning up bodily fluids and listening to howls, that they made the bed they are lying in.

8 Sex Tips for the Long Haul

Regular sex with your life partner is a picnic and a brass band. You don’t really need the fireworks, too.

6 Common Problems Couples Have With Sex

Identifying and fixing difficulties in your sex life can not only make sex better, it can fix other problems as well, because it is hard to feel distant from or angry at someone who brings you so much pleasure.

The Gift of Anger

If you are jumpy or skittish about anger, or if you feel angry about a host of situations that other people take in stride, its utility will be greatly diminished. But if you embrace anger as a natural aspect of the human condition, it can be a reliable guide to useful behavior.

Dating as Marketing

You know how when something good happens to someone you’re close to it makes you mainly happy for them but also makes you resent it and feel threatened by it? If you’re just happy for them, that’s love.

Is So-Called Victim Blaming Always Bad?

Scrupulously avoiding anything that looks like “blaming the victim” can hinder treatment and prevention.

The Wussification of Psychology Training

Cultural practices imported from kindergarten are designed to teach coloring and the alphabet, but the cultural practices of academia and science are necessary to support the teaching of doctoral-level clinical work.

Looking Up the Learning Curve

If you’ve been praised your whole life for getting the right answer, you might have a tendency to interest yourself only in activities that can be mastered quickly. Psychotherapy is not one of these.

The Second Greatest Psychologist of All Time

Many fiction writers should be included on the list of great psychologists, because clinical psychology is more a branch of literature than of medicine.

On Shooting the Marginalized and Marginalizing the Shot

Let’s bring a less idealized vision of America and the police to the discussion of race. A fearful American is a failure of policing.

Is Culture an Explanation?

Do I drink expensive coffee because I’m white?