The Paradox of Psychological Defenses

To the extent you are defended, you are cut off from being able to experience genuine feeling—the good, the bad and the ugly.

You Don’t Really Want to Get Better

Of course psychotherapy clients want relief from their symptoms. Yet, they are reluctant to change the defenses that would allow them to overcome their psychological maladies.

A Psychological Perspective on Human Destructiveness

Exploring the source of unethical, harmful behaviors and how they are manifested in personal relationships between men, women, couples, and families, and in the social arena.

Mental Health Principles from the Wisdom of Psychotherapy

In thinking about a value system based on psychotherapeutic principles, I began to consider some guidelines that might be of value for achieving a freer, more satisfying existence.

Separation Theory

Early interpersonal pain, separation anxiety, and death anxiety lead to the formation of powerful psychological defenses that limit a person’s capacity for living and feeling.

Remembering R.D. Laing

A brilliant man that the world has sorely missed for 28 years.

How to Befriend Yourself

People can utilize their personal power and actively contribute to their own growth and development, in essence becoming their own ally.

You Don't Really Know Yourself

For the most part, people are unaware that their lives are controlled and regulated by negative attitudes toward themselves that represent a basic aspect of their identity

The Impact of Death on our Everyday Lives

Defensive reactions to personal trauma, separation issues, and especially death anxiety impact our lives at three distinct levels.

Insight into Extremism and the Terrorist Mentality

What are the psychodynamics behind extremism, absolutism and all insidious forms of polarization? On some level, the answers all relate to human beings’ inherent fear of death and their need for psychological defenses to deny or ease the endemic pain of the human condition.

8 Reasons Parents Fail to Love Their Kids

In my observation of families, I have noted countless examples of well-meaning parents engaging in behavior that is insensitive, mis-attuned, or harmful to their children, while earnestly believing that they love them and have their best interests at heart. There are several reasons why it’s often difficult for parents to love their children.

The Simple Truth about Anger

Suppressing angry feelings inevitably has destructive consequences. I postulate four major ill effects of bypassing the feeling of angry emotions. They are (1) developing psychosomatic symptoms; (2) turning the anger against oneself; (3) projecting anger outward onto others; and (4) acting out hostile, negative behaviors.

7 Factors Affecting Orgasm in Women

Many developmental issues affect women’s sexuality. In this blog, we focus on seven psychological factors that tend to negatively impact a woman’s sexual desire, arousal and orgasmic capacity. Understanding these issues is useful in helping women achieve richer, more satisfying sexual lives.

Why Do We Hate Love?

Love — kindness, affection, sensitive attunement, respect, companionship — is not only difficult to find, but is even more challenging for many people to accept and tolerate. But why do love, positive acknowledgment and compliments arouse such animosity? There are a number of primary causes of this phenomenon.

How to Become More Adult and Successful in Your Life

You can address the problem of being an adult by recognizing and challenging defenses and altering childish behavior patterns. Learn how to become alert to situations and personal interactions that trigger your fear of growing up and take control over negative actions that relieve or quiet the fear.

Why People Fear Growing Up and Functioning as Adults

What are the the principal barriers to living an adult existence? In this blog, I explore the psychodynamics underlying the tendency to hold onto a child’s perspective despite the emotional turmoil, maladaptation, and unhappiness it creates.

Six Aspects of Being an Adult

Most people are unaware that they are conducting their lives more from a child’s frame of reference than in an adult mode. Although men and women mature physically and become more capable in their practical lives, rarely do they achieve emotional maturity.

How to Stop Playing the Victim Game

There are ways to shift from the victimized stance, characterized by passivity and behaviors based on negative power, to a more adult stance characterized by active coping and personal power.

The Ideal Therapist

Instead of playing the role of expert, the ideal therapist would strive to be an authentic person.He or she would serve as a role model for the client, demonstrating through his or her responses and behavior, how to struggle against destructive forces within the personality and how to live less defensively.
You Don’t Want What You Say You Want

You Don’t Want What You Say You Want

The truth is that love, by any operational definition of the word, is not only hard to come by, but it is even more difficult to accept and tolerate. Accepting love and getting close to someone else threatens our defenses and conflicts with any negative points of identity that we formed in our families.
A New Slant on Vulnerability: Courage Not Conformity

A New Slant on Vulnerability: Courage Not Conformity

Vulnerability means having the courage to live and cope with life, all the while maintaining the full potential of being human.

A New Slant on Vulnerability: Strength Not Weakness

The very defenses that once protected us as children and were appropriate to our survival emotionally can limit our life experience as adults. Being vulnerable means freeing yourself of these defenses to live it as fully as possible, to experience all of your emotions, all your perceptions, all your thoughts, all your ideas.
It Is Immoral to Stop People from Loving You

It Is Immoral to Stop People from Loving You

Researchers have observed that people tend to commit the most egregious human rights violations in their closest, most intimate associations. We are guilty of such violations when someone's love challenges our negative self-concept, and, in our desperation to defend ourselves, we disrespect their feelings and use means that are hurtful to push them away.

Living Free From Regret

To varying degrees people block out important feelings and emotions, and in so doing, deviate from their true destiny. How is it that so many people spend their lives denying themselves such simple basic gratification? And why, when they are facing death, do they finally have the clarity to know what’s important to them?

Life-Affirming Death Awareness

By acknowledging death as a reality instead of resorting to defensive denial, we can best meet these challenges and embrace life more fully.

The Self Under Siege

All people are possessed to varying degrees by alien personalities and to that extent exist as divided selves.

Don't Play the Victim Game

Even in the most extreme situation, feeling victimized is neither productive nor adaptive.

Your Worst Enemy is Within

I was searching for the answer to the question of why most individuals in spite of emotional catharis, understanding and intelectual insight still hold on to familiar destructive patterns of the past and refuse to change on a deep character level.

Personal Power

 Power and leadership per se are obviously neither positive nor negative in and of themselves. However, the specific types of power that people tend to develop over time and the methods whereby they accumulate and utilize this power to either inspire, dominate, or destroy other people, can be evaluated from an ethical point of view.   

Alive Sexuality

Sex is one of the strongest motivating forces in life. It has the potential for creating intense pleasure and fulfillment or for causing considerable pain and suffering. The effect of a natural expression of sexuality on one's sense of well-being and overall enjoyment of life cannot be over-emphasized.