Essential Reads

The Benefits of Embracing the Ordinary

Why you should take the time to capture the mundane in your everyday life

Departing Earth

What does it say to leave your home planet forever?

Sex in the Head

What may look like pure physical arousal is usually much more complicated.

Obama and Netanyahu in Family Therapy

Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister, for the sake of world peace, call me.

Recent Posts on Relationships

The Most Important Thing To Know About Conflict

By Elaine Shpungin Ph.D. on September 27, 2010 in Peacemeal
Turning ideas about conflict, safety, and explosiveness upside down.

Starting the conversation

How do we begin a scary and painful conversation on the role of racism and prejudice in society? 

How To Win Friends (The Sad Truth)

By Shankar Vedantam on September 27, 2010 in The Hidden Brain
Why Some People Make Friends More Easily Than Others

Stories Are Us

By Marietta McCarty on September 27, 2010 in Life Saving Philosophy
My stories bind my life as one life through the passage of time; they are the threads that weave seemingly separate events into my identity. Our stories bind us as travelers on the same planet. Personal narratives introduce us to each other and give us a shared history. Comic or tragic, heartwarming or heartrending, each of our lives is one big short story collection.

The Dark Side of Self-Control

While behaviors like smoking, drinking and eating too much, taking drugs, or sleeping with strangers, can have many root causes, they all seem to have one obvious thing in common: they are all examples of failures of self-control. But if you really think about it, something about that simple answer doesn't quite make sense. In fact, it turns out that sometimes it's having willpower that really gets you into trouble.

A Conversation with Gail Caldwell: On the loss of a close friend

By Irene S Levine Ph.D. on September 25, 2010 in The Friendship Doctor
The death of a close friend is extraordinarily painful, made that much more difficult because bereaved friends typically evoke little sympathy and support. This occurs even when the emotional connection between two friends is as strong as the bonds between siblings, spouses or partners.

Does Love Involve Sacrifice or Compromise?

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on September 24, 2010 in In the Name of Love
The need for sacrifices and compromises is often mentioned in discussions of romantic relationships. Are the two the same and if not, which of the two is most needed in romantic relationships? According to Romantic Ideology, love is frequently described as involving sacrifices and resisting compromises. In reality, the situation is typically the opposite-relationships require fewer sacrifices and more compromises. 

Alternative Sexualities Research

By David J Ley Ph.D. on September 24, 2010 in Women Who Stray
CARAS is an organization dedicated to academic and therapeutic research into kinky, alternative sex. These people are asking a lot of very healthy, intriguing questions.

Your Sense of Agency: Are You In Control of Your Life?

By Mary C Lamia Ph.D. on September 24, 2010 in The White Knight Syndrome
Your ability to take action, be effective, influence your own life, and assume responsibility for your behavior are important elements in what you bring to a relationship.

Positive Relationships

By Michelle Gielan on September 23, 2010 in Lights, Camera... Happiness!
Close relationships are an important part of being happy.  Some powerful reasons why relationships matter... at least to me.

Can You and Your Partner Agree to Disagree?

By Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. on September 23, 2010 in Evolution of the Self
Certainly, you've heard the phrase before. Perhaps so many times that it's ceased to have much meaning to you. But the fact is that in a long-term, committed relationship, when circumstances oblige you to confront significant differences with your partner, nothing could be more crucial than agreeing to disagree.

Passive Aggressive "Paybacks" on CBS's Survivor: Nicaragua

 When you need to avoid being the target at Tribal Council, is passive aggressive revenge your best weapon?

The Cosmic Countermove: What Your Therapist Won't Tell You!

By Harriet Lerner Ph.D. on September 22, 2010 in The Dance of Connection
Warning: The universe itself may give you a hard time if you make too bold a change! For example, you buy a house and the week you move in the dishwasher stops working and your car breaks down. What does this mean? Before you make a relationship change of any kind, know the truth about "cosmic countermoves!

The Key to a Good Marriage

By Michael W Austin on September 22, 2010 in Ethics for Everyone
Using parenting techniques on a spouse may be effective in helping us get what we want, but is it right?

Reaping Justice from an ex-Spouse

A while ago, I was listening to a weekly radio show on PBS called "This American Life". Each episode has a particular theme and people tell stories related to that theme. I was really taken by a story about a man who had experienced extreme injustice but was unable to correct it.

A History of the Digital Self: The Evolution of Online Dating

By Brett P. Kennedy Psy.D. on September 22, 2010 in The Digital Self
 SEX. Salt-N-Pepa encouraged us to talk about it and George Michael simply wanted it. In the early 90's AOL introduced the chat room where people could manage to do both. People flocked to explore the newest way to flirt, fantasize, and play, cyber style. Quite expectedly, an entirely new format for socializing emerged. The possibilities for how it would impact our intimate lives and change the landscape of dating was soon to be seen. A social and sexual revolution was born. 

You Are a Social Animal

I don't involve myself in romantic relationships because I am happy the way I am right now....or so I think.  Either way is this type of focus on oneself too much of an extreme to better oneself?  I want to have more fun than what I'm having but am not able to afford it at the moment.  Is this type of extreme detrimental or is it even an extreme at all?

Are American Friendships Materialistic?

In response to my last post, an immigrant from Eastern Europe expressed the view that Americans do not see others as "human beings with whom they can form deep and real relationships;" and the comment placed primary responsibility on "the materialist culture and some form of deep selfishness formed as a result."

Decisions, Decisions: Helping Your Child Make Constructive Choices for Expressing Anger

 Every day, your child faces dozens of choices, from the ordinary to the complicated. One of the most important decisions she makes each day has to do with how she handles angry feelings.

How to Exorcise Your Ex

By Terri Orbuch Ph.D. on September 20, 2010 in The Love Doctor
Exorcise that old love.

Guest Post - On a lost friendship by Emily L. Hauser

By Irene S Levine Ph.D. on September 20, 2010 in The Friendship Doctor
I have this friend. "Had" this friend, I suppose. I haven't heard from her in over two years. I had this friend. She was, by many measures, the best friend I'd ever had.

Should You Give Your Ex a Second Chance?

By Ana Nogales on September 20, 2010 in Family Secrets
I have had a number of clients tell me that their decision to break up or get divorced may have been made too abruptly. They confess that if they had understood then what they realize now, they might have been able to get through the crises that led to the split-up. They tell me that they might be more tolerant of an unfaithful, overly critical, or un-ambitious partner-now that they realize that "nobody's perfect."

Why are these young people proud of their sexual orientation?

By Brian Mustanski Ph.D. on September 20, 2010 in The Sexual Continuum
We set up a video booth at the 2010 Chicago Pride Festival and asked people to write on a card why they "heart" or love their sexuality.

Out of Thin Air, Part II

By Sam Sommers on September 19, 2010 in Science Of Small Talk
In Part I of this post, I wrote about the power of stereotypes to shape human performance even when they aren't discussed aloud. Simply suspecting that others are making evaluations based on preconceived notions about "people like you" has an impact. Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as stereotype threat, and it explains why being asked to record their race on a demographic form was enough to lead Black (but not White) Stanford students to underperform on a subsequent SAT test...

What Makes A Hero

By Alex Lickerman M.D. on September 19, 2010 in Happiness in this World
I saw a patient of mine recently whose appearance in my office always makes me smile. He's challenging—not because he's a difficult person (quite the opposite), but because he has so many serious medical problems about which I can do so little. Why, then, does seeing him so consistently lighten my mood? Because it reminds me that for all the terrible things that go on—the abuse, the discrimination, the injustice, the downright nastiness—good still exists in the world. Because, you see, he's a hero.