A loving relationship can be an oasis in uncertain times, but nurturing it requires attention, honesty, openness, vulnerability, and gratitude.
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Turn in the direction of the skid.
Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D.
We are not elevated by canceling the people we are expected to cancel. We are elevated by empathizing with them.
It’s human nature to find someone to blame for life’s disappointments, and your poor spouse is a likely candidate.
The real self is needy, collaborative, and all-too-human.
We are more likely to manage our motivations successfully if we acknowledge and accept them.
The real self is not racist. Acorns are concerned with becoming oak trees, not with whether white oaks are superior to red oaks.
Psychopathology is like trying to get around in your city using a map that is decades old and drawn by a child.
Psychopathology uses imagination to replace rather than to develop ourselves.
When psychologists conceptualize human suffering as angst, despair, and ennui rather than as disease, then our "medicine" is very strong.
Your partner cannot be both a perfect shield against infection and, at the same time, a relaxed roommate. You can’t marry Monica AND Phoebe, or Chandler AND Joey.
Some partners may not see the advantages of doing what’s best for the system.
Some approaches to therapy move online smoothly, and some don’t.
Once we stigmatize someone, we maintain our sense of our own humanity by demonizing the stigmatized.
Don’t be surprised when horror narratives and hero-worship supplant our rational responses to the coronavirus; it’s what we were built to do.
Why people have such a strong desire to be authentic.
It’s hard to tell if your date is a narcissist because everyone is trying to look impressive on a date.
Do you look in the mirror with love or hate?
We need to learn how to manage our emotions, not be tyrannized by them.
All too often, “acceptance” means complacency with ourselves rather than an acknowledgment of our flaws, humility, and a desire to change for the better.
“Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Exodus 23:9
Science’s success in insulating us from early death lowers the stakes for sifting bad ideas, allowing us to believe what we like.
Theater and poetry, as opposed to journalism, are the bedrock of therapy.
Self-esteem is the result of having skills appropriate to the occasion.
Marital advice for a lovely couple.
While a small percentage of anxiety reactions are caused by brain malfunctions, the vast majority of them are psychological in nature.
It’s hard to nail a performance when you don’t know which role you’re in.
Only humans turn heuristics into commandments.
When Red Sox fans hate the Yankees, that’s culture; if a Red Sox fan shot up the Yankee clubhouse, you can bet on mental illness.
They compulsively test the durability of relationships, but the test is never passed, only passed for now.
If you guard information like incriminating evidence, you experience curiosity as piracy.
A misalliance is a positive relationship organized around something other than the work of therapy.
Michael Karson, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at the University of Denver.
Musings (amusing musings, I hope) on psychotherapy, personality, and life from a practitioner steeped in experience, resistant to rules, and suspicious of categories.