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Criticisms of Freud: Commentary on the Freud Wars

Criticisms of Freud: Commentary on the Freud Wars Today’s Wall Street Journal offered a book review by Adam Kirsch of, yet another, “quasi-biography” of Sigmund Freud.  The book in question is Freud: The Making of an Illusion by Frederick Crews, the latest in his seemingly endless criticisms of Freud.  As noted by Kirsch, this endless war on Freud by Crews … Continue reading Criticisms of Freud: Commentary on the Freud Wars

DSM-5 Diagnoses and Defense Mechanisms

DSM-5 Diagnoses and Defense Mechanisms Most clinicians in the United States make psychiatric diagnoses with the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).  While “DSM-5 diagnoses” and “defense mechanisms” are rarely terms seen together, the diagnostic process is benefitted by a deep understanding of the person. The DSM-5 First published by the American Psychiatric Association in 1952, the DSM … Continue reading DSM-5 Diagnoses and Defense Mechanisms

Tips for Meditation Challenges

Tips for Meditation Challenges   You know it’s good for you.  Many studies have shown the benefits of including meditation in your life.  But, whether you already meditate regularly or just wish you could, you’re probably aware of challenges to establishing it as a regular practice.  You may feel bored, restless, or impatient.  Or start … Continue reading Tips for Meditation Challenges

Are Ego Defenses Bad or Good?

Ego Defenses   Are ego defenses bad or good to have?  Is the goal of psychotherapy to remove defense mechanisms or strengthen them?  Can mental health be defined as the absence of ego defenses?  Or are some ego defenses better to have than others? Questions like these are posed frequently by graduate students, clinicians, and even psychotherapy patients … Continue reading Are Ego Defenses Bad or Good?

What Is Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy?

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Psychoanalytic psychotherapy (also called psychodynamic psychotherapy) is a contemporary form of treatment for mental health issues that has evolved from its roots in psychoanalysis over the last 100+ years. This form of treatment emphasizes a comprehensive understanding of the client (“patient”) as a person, as opposed to following a strictly symptom-oriented approach. By … Continue reading What Is Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy?

Isn’t Psychoanalysis Dead?

Psychoanalysis I heard the question again just last week, this time from an undergraduate in my Abnormal Psychology class. I’ve heard it many times over the years, from colleagues and grad students as well. I had also been taught, all through college and throughout graduate training, that no one considered Freud’s work anymore. I suspect … Continue reading Isn’t Psychoanalysis Dead?

The Value of “Having Your Head Examined”

Psychotherapy The profession of psychotherapy has been around for over 100 years, with less formal versions of personal consultation going back to biblical times.  So why is it that the voluntary seeking of psychotherapy can be such a polarizing issue?    Skeptics of psychotherapy cast doubts on the effectiveness of “talk” to change anything in … Continue reading The Value of “Having Your Head Examined”

An Unforgettable Patient: The “Meerkat Boy”

  Child Psychotherapy Case One of my favorite child psychotherapy cases is that of the “Meerkat Boy.”  He was only 4 ½ years old.  His father had mentioned to his own therapist that the child had rarely (if ever) spoken, was reclusive, and was defecating in the corners of rooms.  The therapist recommended that the … Continue reading An Unforgettable Patient: The “Meerkat Boy”

Orthodonture or Psychotherapy?

Thumb Sucking Thumb sucking can become a heated issue for parents. “How can I get my child to stop sucking her thumb?” is a common question asked by parents. And there are so many “remedies” on the market to help achieve this goal—bitter nail solutions, thumb wraps, children’s books to coax a child away from the … Continue reading Orthodonture or Psychotherapy?

What a T-Shirt and Ticklish Gorilla Can Teach a Psychotherapist About Building a Life That’s True to the Self

  Identity Development I’ve learned much from both my favorite t-shirt and a ticklish gorilla about identity development, self-awareness, and building a life that’s likely to be fulfilling. First, for the t-shirt.  My favorite t-shirt has a little label sewn on it that says, “Do what you like, like what you do.”  I’ve thought a … Continue reading What a T-Shirt and Ticklish Gorilla Can Teach a Psychotherapist About Building a Life That’s True to the Self

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