Defenses

Don’t Play the Victim Game

In Psychological Defenses in Everyday Life, (1989), I described a patient who complained that her husband was habitually late for dinner. Dinner was ready at 6:30, but he often came in as late as 8:30 without calling to let her know that he would be late. She asked me, “Is that right?” in a tone that… Read more »

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How to Become Your Best Self

The month of December is not only a time of holiday festivities; it is also a time of reflection. In the midst of the merriment, we find ourselves assessing the year that is passing and thinking about our expectations for the upcoming one. More often than not, we are disappointed that, once again, we have… Read more »

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What Are Defenses?

When he was 3-years-old, Kevin watched his dad drive away. For the few months following his parents’ split, Kevin and his brother had moved in with their father. The three of them lived together contentedly until the day Kevin’s mom showed up out of the blue and announced that she was taking the kids back…. Read more »

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Your Worst Enemy is Within by Robert Firestone, Ph.D.

My life’s work as a psychotherapist has focused on the problem of resistance. In my study of people’s resistance to change, I was deeply perplexed by a seemingly paradoxical phenomenon: the fact that most people consistently avoid or minimize experiences that are warm, successful, or constructive. I observed that most of my patients tended to… Read more »

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Psychological Defenses in Everyday Life

Robert W. Firestone, Ph.D. – This book is a rich resource that broadens personal understanding by examining the origins of childhood pain, subsequent defense formation, and the pervasiveness and destructiveness of resulting maladaptive, addictive behaviors in adults. The authors point a way toward reversing the damaging process that keeps individuals from experiencing genuine satisfaction. The… Read more »

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Addictions

Addictions and addictive behaviors are appealing because they offer immediate relief from psychological pain and anxiety. However the relief is only temporary; they never provide a lasting solution to our problems. When we “sober up” we find that our emotional pain is still there. A serious side effect of addictive behaviors is that they do… Read more »

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Anxiety

Anxiety can be a serious psychological condition that limits us in our interactions, our development and our general state of mind. For some of us, anxiety has a constant presence, continually setting off alarms in our brain that tell us to worry over every little thing.  For others, we may hardly take notice when we… Read more »

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Defenses

“What’s keeping me from feeling?” How could something as natural as feeling our emotions be so difficult? There is a very logical explanation for why we have trouble accessing our feelings and instead find ourselves cut off and detached. Many of us are defended against feeling and to understand why, we have to go back… Read more »

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I Feel Lonely: What To Do When You’re Feeling Alone

“Why do I feel alone?” Human beings are instinctively social animals. It is natural for us to feel alone or lonely when we are isolated from others. As a tribal species, our brains adapted to rely on social connections as a means to survive. In fact, according to neuroscientist John Cacioppo, who has made a career out of studying loneliness, “The… Read more »

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Self-Limiting Behaviors

  “Why do I keep sabotaging my own success?” We have the opportunity to apply for our dream job, but we end up procrastinating and missing the deadline for submitting the application. Or we go to the interview, but our behavior is uncharacteristically subdued and unenthusiastic, and we “blow the interview.” Or we actually get… Read more »

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