Personal Authenticity Part 6: living an authentic lifestyle

“Our responsibility is much greater than we might have supposed, because it involves all mankind.” Jean-Paul Sartre This series on personal authenticity has focussed predominantly on the relevance of the individual’s alignment with his or her own truth and truth’s impact upon relationships with others. Part 6 looks at the wider social and global implications…

Personal Authenticity Part 5: genuine relationship

“A human being becomes whole not in virtue of a relation [only] to himself but rather in virtue of an authentic relation to another human being” Martin Buber One of the significant benefits of making a commitment to living more authentically, is the opportunity we give ourselves and others we encounter to engage in genuine…

Personal Authenticity Part 4: being and becoming

“The most common form of despair is not being who you are” Søren Kierkegaard The quest of developing personal authenticity is one that really implies a litany of questions that are both difficult to ask and difficult to answer: ‘who am I?’ ‘what is my context?’ ‘how long do I have to live?’ ‘what truly…

Splitting: the world and others in black and white

Splitting is a defence mechanism first posited by Freud and later developed by various proponents of psychoanalysis and psychodynamic theory including Ronald Fairbairn and Melanie Klein within Object Relations Theory.  Each development has different perspectives on the splitting phenomenon but all broadly agree that splitting describes an individual’s way of forming conclusions about the world…

Anger, Aggression and Passive-Aggression

Anger We all know what it is to feel angry and why.  But anger can often mask underlying feelings that we have either allowed to accumulate in an unexpressed form, or of which we have lost awareness through habit, time or dissociation, for example. Anger, when expressed openly, is our show of refusal, protestation or…

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

“The historical religions have the tendency to become ends in themselves, and, as it were, to put themselves in God’s place, and, in fact, there is nothing that is so apt to obscure God’s face as a religion.” Martin Buber In an earlier post I outlined an existential perspective on spirituality as a means of…

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 and Dysfunctional Society

Mental distress as the individual’s response to society’s dysfunction 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, nor an inherent lack. …

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…

Narcissistic Abuse Part 2: from darkness to light

Cast a Giant Shadow Recovering from narcissistic abuse and other forms of exploitation that have gone on for months or years can be a painful experience as we re-emerge from breakdown.  Malignant and predatory narcissists are inherently parasitic upon others, alternately taking what they want from victims to supply their own needs at the other’s…

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…

Mental distress: a sane response to an insane world

R.D. Laing 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 can spend years trying to figure out which category we fall into, adjusting our words, thoughts and behaviours in accordance with…