At New Year it is traditional to make hopeful promises to ourselves and to others. Hope seems to mark the possibility of change and something better, more love perhaps, less suffering. But how helpful are messages of hope in times of crisis?
Lockdown restrictions in the UK are beginning to ease; but what if going back to normal is not what you want? Using dream images, I explore the protective inner world 'psychic lockdown' that may dominate our inner life when we are troubled by anxiety, and explain why questions may be the key to finding a new normal.
Touch is the underdog of our senses. Vitally important to our mental and physical wellbeing, yet undervalued in a society that upgrades ‘touch-screens’ and downgrades skin-touches, we generally discuss touch when it is abusive or intrusive but speak less of it as a requisite need. Here I explore whether we can compensate for our loss of physical touch with psychological touch, through our use of technology.
To fall in love is to enter into a vulnerable, giddy, preoccupied state of mind. We take the person we love unbridled into our dreams and fantasies and feel a loss of control as our mind wanders mischievously away from mundane aspects of the everyday onto a fantasied exciting future with our new love. It is delicious yet maddening. But how does this maddening, chubby love uncurl into a mature love that lasts? And what can porcupines tell us about love?
Netflix series Russian Doll, released in February 2019, plays with the psychological concept of ‘repetition compulsion’ to produce a dark comedy that offers an apt metaphor for the re-emergence of childhood trauma in adulthood.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is sometimes associated with undesirable notions of ‘wallowing in the past’ and ‘digging up old wounds.’ When you come to therapy, you want to know how to feel better. Looking at the past may seem incongruent with your current difficulty. You can't change the past, so why does it matter?
Anger tends to hold negative connotations with ‘badness,’ being so often associated with damage, pain and destruction. Yet this emotion is an essential part of our feeling self. How do we embrace our anger so that we can use it as a positive force? In my article on Welldoing.org, I explore how we can harness our anger as a tool for change.
The film ‘10 Cloverfield Lane’ has been discussed as a metaphor for abuse, but it is also, I think, a metaphor for the turmoil of our inner world when traumas from our past impede our capacity to live an authentic life in the present.
Like a Highway Code for our inner world, feelings guide us, offering important information about our environment. When we feel safe, contented and hopeful, for instance, like a green light, our psyche is signalling it is safe to explore. When we feel threatened, our mind is sending an amber warning telling us to take heed. How do we come to know and trust our feelings?
How often have you heard someone say: “I NEED need my mobile”? We seem to need our smartphones like we need our shoes. Mobile phone addiction is, supposedly, a real and current problem. Numerous articles now advise how to overcome our dependency. But can we really be addicted? And how can we make sense of this?