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About life

Psychological defenses should never be broken or smashed, they should be melted with human warmth.

Love, like justice, must be seen to be done. For love to have meaning and substance there have to be observable expressions of love. When it comes to love, what you see (and hear and feel) is what you get.

The most important thing in life is luck – a sobering thought for a psychologist who is bent on helping people change the way that they live.  Beginning with our genetic makeup luck shapes and molds our lives.

Anger is rooted in passivity, and mitigating anger entails energizing passivity and transforming it to activity. In childhood our passivity is inherent in the situation, but as adults we are responsible for our passivity and maturity entails asserting ourselves and thereby neutralizing anger.

In Freud’s time the dirty little secret was sexuality, today the dirty little secret is rage and hatred.

Hatred and rage can bind us to someone as strongly as love.

One of the basic tasks of therapy is to enhance fantasy. The essence of psychological constriction is the restriction of feeling and the limiting of fantasy; and the basic task of therapy is to rescind these restrictions and liberate feeling and fantasy. Doing something novel and different always involves the ability to imagine the new activity or attitude first; fantasy being a precondition for innovation.

A mother’s love is magical in that it can significantly reduce the experience of pain. When a child hurts himself and a maternal figure is there to contain the child and relate empathically to the pain that the child experiences, the experienced pain decreases by half. Containing the pain of the other is one of the secrets of a good marriage, and of good therapy.

One of the most useful, heuristic questions that we can ask is: “why is this event happening at this particular time?” We will not necessarily arrive at a clear answer to this question, but the question itself will always open an interesting and productive line of thought. A corollary is the question “when did this begin?” which also leads to fruitful avenues. In the West we have been indoctrinated with notions of cause and effect; while in the East the emphasis is on which things happen together; and this form of Eastern thinking can be very creative

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A song about therapy