Intrusive Thought: "What if I Harm a Child?" (POCD)

When the same thought, image, dream, or motif shows up across cultures and crosses all of our lines of classification (age, gender, geography, race, religion), we call it an archetype. For example, the dreams where you show up at school without your pants on or have forgotten to study for a test are archetypal dreams. The character of the wicked witch or the evil stepmother are archetypal symbols. And the thought, “What if I’m a pedophile?” is one of many archetypal thoughts – alongside “What if I don’t love my partner?” and “What if I have a terminal illness?” – that clients and course members have shared with me over the past two decades. It’s also one of the most highly misunderstood intrusive thoughts and the one that often causes the most anguish. As the Louisville OCD clinic writes:

Although all the many ways that obsessive-compulsive fears manifest themselves can … Click here to continue reading...

Love is a Bowl of Oatmeal

Originally published on The Huffington Post

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One of my favorite authors, Jungian analyst Robert Johnson, says that good love is like a bowl of oatmeal. A bowl of oatmeal? How unromantic, you may say. How prosaic, you think. Love should be an ice cream sundae with cherries and sprinkles on top. Love should be a decadent Italian dessert. Oatmeal? How depressing.

In our romance-addicted culture, this concept rubs many people the wrong way and often elicits questions like: Where’s the passion, the drama, the excitement? Isn’t love supposed to make me feel alive? Isn’t it supposed to fulfill my every need, even needs that I didn’t know I had?

What Johnson means is that love is not the cure-all that we set people up to believe it is. When love is true and real, it feels warm and sweet in your soul the way oatmeal feel warms and … Click here to continue reading...