A positive, nurturing, etc. upbringing psychologically prepares a person to successfully meet the challenges that inevitably arise in an intimate relationship. I say inevitable because there will always be some friction at times between two people, no matter how well suited they are for each other. The other person in a relationship is another person, with his/her own needs, values, perspective, trigger points, moods, idiosyncrasies, foibles, quirks, blind spots, and so on. No one’s needs, wants, etc. are fulfilled 100% of the time by one’s partner or spouse. Thus all relationships are challenging in certain ways and degree. Read more
Does a person need therapy or treatment to stop doing something if he 100% does not want to do that something? The intuitive answer would seem to be NO, which takes us directly to the issue of ambivalence.
Karen Horney, a pioneering revisionist of psychoanalytic theory in the 1930s and 1940s, once remarked that in the main what people in analysis wanted was not cure but rather not to be so inconvenienced by their neurosis. In plainer language, and to address this to addiction, what most people want is to ‘eat their cake and have it too,’ to be able to use but for the use to not get so out of hand and produce so much trouble in living day to day. To basically do the same thing and be the same way but a little less.
Why do people have to be in therapy in order to stop drinking? You’d think that bad outcomes themselves would be reason enough to stop or at least lead to being careful and moderate. Why would a person need therapy in order to stop harming himself and getting himself in trouble? The simple answer is that people are doing the best they can in living’”doing the best they can to cope with the stress and challenges of life as they experience them. Read more
Freud once commented that we are responsible for our dreams because well, who else could be responsible? This is Jewish humor, as I well know. Are we really responsible for our dreams? What actually are we responsible for and why? This is a pressing question for both husband and wife after (typically) the husband’s infidelity of one or more sorts has emerged (I must say many of the men I see have been strikingly lax in trying to cover their tracks). Is the husband bad or sick or both or something else or what?
One cannot be precise about the figures, but it is all too apparent that many people grow up having to endure very serious adversity within their own family. In 1962, in a landmark article appearing in Journal of the American Medical Association, a group of emergency room physicians implored medical colleagues across the country to stop covering up parental battering of infants and young children.Maltreatment of children within the family is not a pleasant topic, but it will not do to make believe it does not happen or that it is rare. Read more
Time passes; you get older and become an adult. You have gone to college or not, you have a job, you make money, perhaps you are very successful, you get married and have children. You still have parents. They are, if this is the case, the toxic parents you grew up with. They have changed little if at all as you grew from childhood to adulthood. You have a life of your own as an adult, but your parents are still part of your life, still in your life. Read more
The title refers to a perennial disagreement among people who treat addictions of all sorts, namely whether to think of addiction (to alcohol or sex or anything else) as the problem (disease, disorder’) itself, or whether to think of addiction as one sign (and not the only one) of a problem that actually generates the addiction (as well as other signs, if one looks carefully).
First the usual caveat about ‘addiction’: It does not lend itself to precise definition. It is really is a term indicating use (substance or activity) on the part of someone that has come to stand out to others or the user him/herself as damaging well-being and which resists efforts to eliminate or modulate. It is consequential for treatment if the person using does not really (as opposed to lip service) see his/her use as ‘over the line’ in terms of self-harm.