News Blog

Bored? Find your inner agency

Many people think that they get bored for external reasons.  We lament that the ‘situation’ is boring or that ‘other people’ are boring.  But this can be a causation error – since very often a large part of the problem lies within.  When we believe it is the external situation or others that are boring, this can prevent us from taking any personal responsibility.  We look outwards instead of inwards.  We see the problem as out there with the other person which inclines us to assume that there is little we can do ourselves to mitigate the boredom.  We easily…

How Hyper-Masculinity Harms Men

  While many women and men have been working together over the past decades to attain more fairness and equality between the genders, there has been a dangerous response from reactionary forces to promote a toxic form of masculinity that is severely detrimental to both men and women. While most people are aware of the hostility this hyper-masculinity holds towards women, few people understand the terrible damage it does to men. Boys are called ‘bitches’ and told to ‘grow some balls’, ‘toughen up’, ‘don’t cry’, ‘stop being a girl’, and ‘stop being pussy-whipped’.  Men are expected to be ruthless, hard,…

Stop Fighting – We’re on the Same Side

  As we come out of lockdown, many people in Australia and all over the world are fighting with each other and taking oppositional sides about whether ‘health’ or the ‘economy’ ought to be the focus moving forwards. People are lining up on one side or the other with dichotomous mindsets.    The trouble with this approach is that we get trapped in the fight too early, viciously externalising outwards and blaming each other.  While healthy debate is generally helpful in most situations, it is important to think flexibly before launching into debate.  For example, a mark of flexible and…

Stop Sulking – It’s Now Time To Talk

When people sulk they usually feel angry, sometimes furious and they want to punish.  They think they have the power to inflict damage through silence. But sulking actually reflects a very different reality.  People sulk when they feel powerless.  They sulk because they believe they lack the skills to talk, solve problems and influence outcomes.  These people usually learnt as children that their words fell on deaf ears.  No matter how much they verbally protested, cried, pleaded for help, or tried to talk they were ignored, and things remained unchanged. From that point, these people gave up on trying to…

Break Free from Loneliness

Now that we are starting to come out of COVID-19 hibernation, many people will be looking for more meaningful connections with others. This is partly because we have been isolated for some time, but it is also because loneliness is generally a massive and ongoing problem in wealthy, first world countries around the world.   This is probably because, in these developed countries, people generally don’t work, live and socialise within the one small community anymore. While there are many advantages to these more ‘fluid’ arrangements (like bigger and sometimes more far-reaching ideas) there are also some significant drawbacks.  For…

Self-Doubt Can Be Excellent

Many people want to eradicate self-doubt and be perpetually confident – but this can be a serious mistake.  In fact, self-doubt can be exactly what we need to help propel us forwards in life.  Instead of eradicating self-doubt we need to understand the difference between constructive self-doubt and global self-doubt. Global self-doubt is where we use words that wipe us out in some sort of total or global way, like I’m ‘bad’, ‘useless’, ‘terrible’, ‘lazy’, ‘waste of space’, ‘hopeless’, ‘ugly’, ‘stupid’, ‘fat’, ‘loser’ or ‘brain-dead’. This global self-doubt is black or white and right or wrong – there is no…

Your Brain, Your Content

            In my work people often tell me that their anxiety or depression is genetic.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  If you look at the image above, you will notice that there are tiny bud-like protrusions coming out of the neuron branch.  These are called dendritic spines and with improved microscope techniques we now know that they are the material representation of learning and memory in our brains. These ‘spines’ are not present in-utero and only start to appear a few days after birth as infants first begin to learn, consolidate, retrieve…

How To Break Free From Alcohol

During the COVID-19 lockdown many people are drinking more alcohol to cope with high levels of stress and upset. While this calms people in the short term, alcohol is one of the most addictive substances known on earth – surprisingly, even more addictive than heroin! In fact, people never die from heroin withdrawal (even though they feel dreadful). They die of other aspects of heroin, like accidental overdosing from not knowing its strength or from Hep C infection or lifestyle consequences like prostitution, imprisonment or homelessness.   On the other hand, about 17% of seriously alcohol-dependent people will die if they…

True Love is Always Tough Love

Many people believe (including some psychologists) that ‘threatening to end a relationship’ is unfair, damaging and destroys trust.  The implication is that ‘true love’ is somehow above these sorts of ‘dirty tactics’ and that resorting to them will undermine trust so severely that the relationship might never recover. Yet, I find in my work as a clinical psychologist working with couples that while ‘the threat’ ought to be used extremely sparingly, it is nonetheless one of the best strategies we have at our disposal for leveraging profound change.   This is mainly because it makes clear exactly what we will…

Routine Matters

From my work as a clinical psychologist, I know that people get particularly distressed when they feel out of control.  This would probably be the main reason people come to psychologists for assistance.  It might relate to feeling out of control in their anxiety, anger, eating, drinking, depressive rumination, drug-use, relationships or stress levels. Feeling out of control happens when people believe they are not in charge of their own lives, but rather, that life is somehow happening ‘to’ them while they are passively pulled along without their own volition. But, even though it can easily ‘feel’ this way, it…