Falling in Love with Other People

Let’s blow the cover off of another taboo topic in our culture, one that causes my clients to barely be able to whisper their experience loud enough to share it with me: “falling in love” with people other than your partner, including bosses, celebrities, religious figures, and even your therapist.

I’ll start by reiterating something I often express on this blog, which is that I deeply wish that we, as a culture, were more educated about the normal thoughts and feelings that the vast majority of people experience. It saddens me that there are still so many aspects of our inner terrain that remain hidden. I’m not sure where these kinds of conversation need to be happening – perhaps in school or university – but I know that the vast majority of the shame that people feel about their normal thoughts and feelings would be eradicated if they simply knew … Click here to continue reading...

Lack of Desire

I hear a lot of whispered truths from women about their sex lives. I hear that they don’t like kissing, that they haven’t had sex in months (or longer), that they would be perfectly fine never to have sex again. But the statement I hear more than any other is: I don’t feel like having sex.

What they mean when they say this is that they’re experiencing a lack of desire and they’re bumping up the expectation that they should feel hot and bothered by their partner more often, sometimes, or even vaguely. They’ve been flooded by the dysfunctional messages about sexuality that permeate the culture and have formed the belief that if desire isn’t instantly and frequently coursing through their body there’s something wrong. Like all forms of anxiety, the “something wrong” usually takes the form of “there’s something wrong with me, my partner, or our chemistry.”

There’s nothing … Click here to continue reading...

Unpacking Intrusive Thoughts

Over the years, I’ve worked with many clients who have suffered from the intrusive thought, “What if my partner is gay?” (or “What if my partner is straight?” for those in a same-sex relationship), and while I’ve written several posts on the “What if I’m gay?” spike I haven’t written about what is, in some ways, a corollary thought. As my work largely centers around shedding the light of conversation and consciousness on taboo topics, it’s time to bring this thought out of the dark chests of the unspoken mind, where, in silence, all it can do is become grown over by the moss and dust of shame.

It’s extraordinary how much shame a single thought can grow. I’ve had clients tell me that they’ve been able to share many intrusive thoughts with friends but when they share the question, “What if my partner is gay?” they see panic flashing … Click here to continue reading...

Something is Wrong

Fear-mind has a special genius for trying to prove that it’s right. It’s like we all have this aspect of our personality – some call it ego, other call it lower self – that has secretly attended law school and graduated at the top of its class. This character, terrified of change, will gather such convincing evidence to support its case that it would win in any court of law, or at the very least in the court of law that takes place inside your mind. It seeks and researches and googles in order to prove its conviction that whatever it is you’re struggling with is because you’re in the wrong relationship or you actually will harm a child or you really do have a life-threatening illness. In other words, Fear is hell-bent on proving that there is something really wrong with you, your relationship, or your health.

From what … Click here to continue reading...

Live the Questions

I recently came across the following in a book called “The Middle Passage” by James Hollis:

“What the frightened individual wishes above all is the restoration of the sense of self which once worked. What the therapist knows is that the symptoms are helpful clues to the place of injury or neglect, pointing the way to subsequent healing… As Jung asserted, ‘The outbreak of neurosis is not just a matter of chance. As a rule it is most critical. It is usually the moment when a new psychological adjustment, a new adaptation is demanded.’ This implies that our own psyche has organized this crisis, produced this suffering, precisely because injury as been done and change must occur.” pp. 36-7

You can see the philosophy from which I hail, yes? James Hollis is a Jungian analyst who writes from the depth psychological tradition, a field of psychology developed by Carl Jung … Click here to continue reading...