Monthly Archives: January 2013

Defining “The Self”

A couple of days ago, off duty and minding my own business, I was asked a really good question, “as a psychologist”. Luckily, I had the foresight to ask for a little time to think about the answer.   The question: How would I describe a “self”?   The answer came, as answers sometimes do, in a dream. This one woke me up this morning, before dawn. I sat down at the computer and wrote out a fairly passable answer. This is what I came up with:   1)         Generally, each of us struggles with a limited number of “front burner” issues. Cognitive psychologists put the number at 8: plus […]

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On Learning the Conditions for Learning

A great “Aha!” in the history of psychotherapy came with the recognition  that the “lifting” or resolution of emotional disturbance did not mean a necessary turn toward emotional well-being. The effect of the original disturbance had blocked learning. If well-being was to be achieved, productive and healthy experiential learning was essential. Since that time, the expanding range of “learning how” has been the cross-disciplinary problem before us all. The first step is a receptivity to learning. Here again, the therapeutic example is instructive. The necessary effort for the suffering individual to manage emotional disturbance  required the building of a rigid system for coping. But the system itself prevented  real learning […]

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Retiring Retirement

The current economic climate serves as a catalyst for a shift in the normative developmental tasks of middle age. The popular twentieth century pattern of career leading to retirement has ended. Partly obscured within the spiraling numbers of unemployed workers of all ages, is the high incidence of professional knowledge workers, freed through the economic imperatives of corporate fiscal panic to pursue other interests. Unfortunately, the shock of the real is what most encounter, as carefully crafted cover letters and resume submissions multiply; with the dawning recognition, often in deep emotional distress, that conventional job-seeking has become ineffective. My clinical and consulting experiences suggest that this realization heralds a period […]

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