The Outsider Part 4: the scapegoat, and surviving the dysfunctional group

The definition of a scapegoat is “a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency”.  The name has its origins in the Bible, whereby the scapegoat was “a goat sent into the wilderness after the Jewish chief priest had symbolically laid the sins of the people…

Passive-Aggression: an expression of inauthenticity

Passive-aggression: the Suppressed, Repressed, Dissociated Possibly one of the most pervasive features of undesireable or antisocial behaviour we find in society is passive-aggression.  Passive-aggression is aggressive or hostile energy that is used to emotionally injure or insult the recipient in a way that attempts to conceal the intent of the aggressor.  It is the result…

Self-development Courses

Courses – coming soon I’m currently designing a series of what I anticipate will be twelve week courses focussing on specific topics to help improve the quality of your life through awareness development, psycho-education and focussed therapeutic work where appropriate.  Courses will comprise weekly sessions, experiential learning, workbooks, therapeutic tasks and between-session support to help…

Spirituality II: Developing an Existential Practice

In an earlier post I outlined an existential perspective on spirituality as a means of responding to existential needs and questions by recognising and forming a more meaningful relationship to the bigger context in which we live as human beings.  In this post I list some of the pragmatic aspects of developing existential awareness by…

Ways of passing the time

Indifference Here I am and there you are.  And there’s the clock on the wall.  I pretend I don’t want anything from you.  You pretend you don’t want anything from me.  Our pretending binds us like a form of artificial intimacy.  And keeps us hungry, a million miles apart. Conversation I pretend I’m listening to…

Mental Distress: society’s contribution

[updated January 12, 2019] Mental distress as the individual’s expression of societal overwhelm I’ve been a psychotherapist for nearly twenty years and the longer I practice the more I recognise the foundational cause of human distress and disturbance tends not to be an isolated failing in the individual, nor defect or deficit, not a pathology,…

The Outsider Part 2: living off-label

Whilst most of us long for kinship with others who will accept us, approve of us, validate our ideas and beliefs, some of us don’t. Many of us will adjust ourselves in order to fit in and secure such approval, or for the sake of ‘a quiet life’, even to the extent of compromising our…

Personal Authenticity Part 3: the healing power of truth

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 When it comes to healing ourselves from significant troubles, distresses, wounds, afflictions and traumas that we may have suffered, the one thing that I have found to be of primary importance is clearing any and all impediments to our seeing…

The Outsider Part 1: clarifying our place in society

If there’s one area of my work that I have a special interest in it’s working with people who feel like they don’t fit in or who find themselves rejected by the group. I wanted to start writing a series of posts on this subject because of the confusion and assumptions that we typically make…

Personal Authenticity Part 2: a good or bad idea?

“The shortest and surest way to live with honour in the world is to be in reality what we would appear to be…” Socrates 469-399 B.C. Personal authenticity has some diverse definitions, especially within philosophy.  I define it within my work as a psychotherapist as involving “a commitment to being aware of and honest with…

Personal Authenticity Part 1: the courage to stick your neck out

“The most common form of despair is not being who you are.” -Søren Kierkegaard I read Nietzche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Marcel, Unamuno, Heidegger and a bunch of other guys whilst searching for ‘meaning’ during and after my studies as a psychotherapist.  And whilst they all helped the intellectual journey of finding words to grapple with the…

I feel like I’m going mad: is there something wrong with me?

Renowned Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing once said “madness is a sane response to an insane world”.  We live in a world that promotes ideas of normality and abnormality and many of us are busy trying to figure out which category we fall into, adjusting our words, thoughts and behaviours in accordance with accepted norms, lest…