Progressive political leaders have a special version of the Imposter Syndrome, a set of beliefs in public leaders that they don't deserve the power and authority that they actually have. For progressives, this often stems from a guilty over-identification with the underdog. They react my diminishing their power and status to their own detriment and that of their movement
Common sense says that something becomes addictive because of its intrinsically powerful attraction. Johann Hari and other have shown that this is wrong, and that the context is crucial. By context they mean the history of emotional abuse, neglect, and isolation. Recovery groups, at their best, work because they provide a contradictory context of love and community
The GOP presidential candidates appeal to needs for safety and security through grandiosity and paranoia. Psychologists can help us understand how American Exceptionalism and xenophobia function to counteract feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, isolation, and self-blame, all of which are on the rise. Paranoia and grandiosity are pathological solutions.
Liberals mistakenly believe that people are motivated primarily by narrow economic self-interest. Research and clinical experience shows this belief to be mistaken. Needs for meaning, purpose, community, recognition, and agency are every bit as important as so-called "survival needs" (a la Maslow), and the progressive movement needs to speak to these needs if it is to win.
Paradoxically, people don't cry or get sad during the tragic or tense parts of a movie, TV show, or book. They cry when there is a resolution to the psychically distressing situation. During the tense/tragic scenes, they feel too vulnerable to cry or get emotional. They experience these feelings only when it is safe to do so. Safety makes it possible to lift repressions
The current wave of hostility toward the influx of Central American children has its psychic roots in, first, a need to project unacceptable needs and shameful vulnerabilities onto others who then become the "enemy," and, second, by scapegoating these children, some people feel a momentary sense of community based on an "us-vs-them" or "insider-outsider" experience.
Everyone has had the experience of endless waiting on the phone for help of some kind. Although affecting people in slightly different ways, the universal reaction is helplessness which leads to depression or rage. This reaction mirrors and reinforces other areas of our lives where we are powerless. For extreme conservatives, such feelings get displaced onto government.
Psychotherapists often apply theories that aren't specific to the client. They are guided by "principles of technique" learned in training and, unfortunately, gloss over the unique needs of clients. There are exceptions to every rule, thereby rendering the rule weak or invalid. The only useful clinical generalization involves creating a safe space unique to each person.
The process by which psychotherapy works is made too complicated. 2 researchers, Joseph Weiss and Harold Sampson, have published research over 50 years, arguing persuasively that people suffer from "pathogenic beliefs" that interfere with normal developmental aims and that the role of the therapist is to provide insight and corrective experiences to cure their suffering.
The coaching profession is now wedded to the false and self-serving notion that it is significantly different from psychotherapy. In order to promote such a belief it has to caricature psychotherapy and hide its own (normal) pecuniary and status-driven self-interest
Most people have health insurance, but progressives focus on those who don't or on the limitations in the plans of those that do. But the people who have insurance suffer in many other ways--e.g. short appointments with busy distracted doctors, indifferent front offices, bureaucracies--all of which diminish health outcomes. We need to put the care back in health care.
The psychotherapy field is a Tower of Babel of multiple professions and schools of thought. Therefore, it's difficult for patients to judge whether they are getting the help they need. Tragically, failures of a therapist are often internalized by patients who feel more hopeless. Five guidelines are presented to help patients evaluate their therapists and their treatment
The narrative arc of Season 1 of the Sopranos amounts to Tony's dawning awareness of the intolerable truth of his mother's hatred. In this, Tony is Everyman. Like all of us, Tony would rather be "a sinner in heaven than a saint in hell;" that is, he'd rather see himself as "bad" rather than face the badness of a parent. When confronted by this in therapy, he explodes.