A common complaint among the patients of psychologists and other mental health providers is that it seems to them that their therapist hardly ever speaks during a session. This can bring up feelings of isolation or anger and dislocation. The sense that we are not being fully heard, or that we are not being paid adequate attention or respect is extremely frustrating and difficult, and in fact, may be part of the reason why a patient has sought out counselling in the first place.
This is completely understandable, as conversation is the way in which we as humans bond with those we are the closest to from infancy on. Many of us look to the traditional patterns of conversation and sociability as being appropriate in most situations. This confusion about how much the therapist should engage in conversation and commentary springs from a basic misunderstanding over the role of the therapist. Psychological therapy is different from all of our other interpersonal encounters. The therapist, as is evident in the word itself, is there to provide a therapeutic service.
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It has become commonplace to display much of our lives in a very publicly accessible fashion. Amateur videos go viral every day, making instant celebrities out of the least likely candidates. We can portray ourselves as the wealthy, beautiful, successful people we always wished to be, and we can make sure that everyone who ever doubted us gets a full screening of our talents and accomplishments. We can be up-to-the-minute with not only friends and family and workmates, but with actors, musicians, politicians, and sports figures. Just as we can individually select the music, news, television, and other entertainment we wish to enjoy, we can also broadly send our own images, actions, beliefs, feelings, and thoughts out into the world.
It seems that everyone knows that person who has thousands of cyberspace “friends”. Their Facebook is legend, they have so many followers and tweeters and likers it is dizzying. It appears as if their lives are filled with glamorous and fun events that inspire envy in all who read their self-created media kits.
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In society today, one’s sexuality can have far-reaching consequences. Sexuality may influence our choices in the work we do, where we live, how we worship, and other intimate areas of life. Sexuality is often associated with one’s identity and what it means to be an individual. With all of the meaning that is carried with sexuality, there is the potential for an individual to question their own feelings. It is far from the case that all people simply know their sexuality or can identify with a particular group. Although many people do not express any confusion or concern regarding their sexuality, this is not the case for a great number of individuals who find that their questions regarding their sexuality are not so easily answered.
Sexuality is not defined by one behaviour or one feeling, or even by one experience. It is a highly complex human response that can be influenced by a variety of factors in its expression. What does seem to be clear that sexual preference is not a choice. One cannot control or determine who they are attracted to – whatever their sexuality. While many people have clear preferences, it is largely outside their ability to change that attraction, or lack thereof. Read More »
It seems that not a week goes by without a news story about anger, confrontation, abuse, or actual violence in the workplace. While the media attention usually goes to figures in the public eye – politicians are notorious in this regard – power struggles in the workplace are, unfortunately, an all-too-frequent occurrence for thousands of working women and men.
With people vying for what can appear to be a very limited pool of prestige and tangible financial benefits, it is no wonder that the workplace is often fraught with difficulties. In addition, because our jobs are often a source of income as well as areas from which we draw pride and security, it is easy to feel threatened by any challenge to that sense of self and stability.
Power struggles in the workplace do not always originate from the top down. Very often, power struggles exist between colleagues. Recognising and understanding typical incidents of poor office politics can go a long way in handling a difficult situation.
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When we hear the words “substance abuse”, too often it brings to mind the image of a stereotypical addict or “junkie”. While this is sometimes a reflection of reality, it is also possible for substance abusers to show very few, if any, outward signs of a problem. For this reason, and others, it can be difficult to identify substance abuse in those around us. Untreated substance abuse takes an enormous toll on individual lives, as well as on society at large.
Although illicit drug use is a major category of substance abuse, it is not the only one. Alcohol, inhalants, adhesives, nicotine, prescription medicines, and solvents are also subject to abuse. Recent news reports about teenagers using liquid hand soap to “get high” demonstrate the lengths to which people will go to satisfy an unquenchable desire for the abused substance.
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Sexual abuse is one of the most difficult experiences an individual may ever face. It is also incredibly common. While damage inflicted on the body may heal, sexual abuse leaves emotional scars that can be just as troubling as physical ones, and in some cases they can be even worse. Although the immediate pain and trauma subside, the truth is that there can be long-term consequences for the victims of sexual abuse. That being said, the process of healing might be centered on the body, not in the mind.
Victims of abuse often respond with a physical reaction known as the “fight or flight” response. The body learns to release adrenaline in situations that recreate the feelings of terror and pain, and as a result, this can become a pattern that the victim experiences again and again. Read More »
I just found out my daughter is lesbian: Help!
If the above sentence applies to you, the following passages may be of some help in coming to terms with the new situation. Firstly, it must be said that everyone’s situation will be different, although some similarities will be prevalent in all. The first similarity will be the feeling of being stunned, followed by rising panic or bewilderment when you first find out. Even if you may already have had an inkling as to the sexuality of your daughter, to have it confirmed will still be a significant moment in your life.
Don’t worry! This is perfectly normal when any news of an unexpected nature is received. It is also worthwhile keeping in mind that your daughter may have been thinking of telling you for many weeks or months that she is a lesbian, and so has had quite some time to be prepared. You, on the other hand, have had to react to the news instantly.Read More »
Constant social interaction and intense media conditioning can intensify the effects of social pressures on a person. An increase in societal expectations, or what are perceived to be so, can be overwhelming for some people and lead to anxiety, stress and withdrawal. One’s sense of self worth should not be based on conforming to social norms. For instance, there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to remain a virgin after 20, without succumbing to social pressures. However, if one has issues such as low self confidence, which are affecting their life and stopping them from achieving fully, it is important to address these issues. A therapist or counsellor can help to overcome feelings of low self worth and to live life to the fullest.
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The Madonna Whore Complex is a psychoanalytical term, coined by Sigmund Freud to describe a male psychological dichotomy in the perception of women – either as saint or sinner. The complex was termed as such by Sigmund Freud, but this dichotomy seems to have existed since time immemorial. Some men experience the inability to view a woman as a whole, but can only view her through the perception of either saint or sinner. The cultural portrayal of men and women as adhering to fixed gender roles also does not help in overcoming this flawed perception of women. Needless to say, this can take a serious toll on personal relationships and many of those who are impacted seek the help of a counsellor to deal with the problem.
According to the Madonna Whore Complex, men either view a woman as a sexually restrained and well behaved ‘Madonna’, or as a sexually free ‘whore’ who must be punished by the man. Read More »
It is a commonly held view that bisexuality does not, in fact, exist. Most people cannot fathom the concept of bisexuality, and bisexual individuals are often thought of as being promiscuous and mentally flawed. Being a victim of such prejudice can cause innumerable problems such as stress, anxiety and depression, and being socially ostracised can shatter self confidence. A counsellor or therapist can help deal with issues so that they may not lead to more complex problems. Emotional trauma and abuse can have a lasting impact on one’s life, it is therefore important to deal with it as early as possible.Read More »