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…

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…

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…