Rationalization is Unhealthy


Over the past few months, I’ve written about a number of defense mechanisms and the important role they play in human interaction. Defense mechanisms reflect the mind’s brilliantly creative approach to protecting itself. While each of them can be effective in different situations, I freely admit that rationalization is my … Read More

Decision Making with Distractions


Thanks to technology, travel, and education, we live in a world of almost endless possibilities. We have access to opportunities and experiences that previous generations couldn’t have even imagined. However, it’s also easier than ever to lose focus, to lose valuable time simply sorting through our options. It can feel … Read More

Comfort, Presence and Grief

Responding to another person’s grief can be incredibly difficult, not because we don’t care, but because we simply don’t know what to do. Often, that’s because there isn’t much that we actually can do. We can’t change the death of a loved one or alter a devastating medical diagnosis. Given … Read More

Words: Beyond Sticks and Stones


You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” I appreciate the spirit of the maxim, the refusal to give credence to critical, spiteful, thoughtless speech. The problem is, it’s not true. Scientific studies, legislation regarding hate speech and even … Read More

Trust Part 3: Indicators of the Trait


Trust is essential but, all too often, a rare commodity in many relationships. In previous blogs, we’ve discussed various impediments to trust, the frequent difficulty recognizing them, and ways to recognize some common substitutes. Recognizing things that undermine trust is incredibly helpful, but knowing what doesn’t work is only part … Read More

Trust: Part 2 – Masquerading Substitutes


In a previous blog, I discussed impediments to trust. One of the greatest impediments to developing trust is that we are often unaware that we are struggling with issues of it. We become so adept at co-opting other behaviors into service, backfilling our deficits with less risky options, that it’s difficult … Read More

Trust: Part 1 – Possible Impediments


Most people readily agree that trust is an essential component of healthy relationships. But it can be a difficult concept to grasp, particularly if we’ve had limited exposure to healthy, trusting relationships. Ideally, trust embodies an optimistic watchfulness, the willingness to gauge trustworthiness on the observation of peoples’ values in … Read More

Projection and Social Repercussion


Famous psychotherapist Sigmund Freud may have provided a vocabulary and framework for defining defense mechanisms, but the simplest explanation is often just a folksy saying away. Ever heard the saying, ‘Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black’? It’s a pithy description of the defense mechanism Freud referred to as … Read More

Confessions of a Change Junkie


I am a self-confessed change junkie. I am much happier in the chaos of transition than with the constancy of the status quo. From the color on the walls to something ‘new’ on the grocery store shelf, I crave novelty, diversity, and movement. Over the years, this trait has become … Read More

Understanding Empathy


Empathy has gotten a lot of press recently, and rightly so. Empathy fosters relational connections that transcend age, race, sex, culture, experience, belief, and circumstance. Yet it can be difficult to express empathy in the midst of interpersonal conflict. Here’s a quick primer on empathy and using it effectively: Empathy … Read More