The Agony Aunt Psychologist

Sometimes I wonder if therapists, in general, have a bit of an image problem. So this month I decided to play the role of Agony Aunt.  

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The strange death of a stranger

It’s always something of a shock when well-known strangers like Charlotte Dawson kill themselves, although her death was back in 2014. I felt the same when Greg King suicided in November 2012.

They feel familiar and yet they’re not. You feel sad but there’s no relationship to mourn. Life goes on with nothing missing.

Perhaps there’s even a subconscious, yet obviously false, belief that someone so well-known would have something to live for. Everything even.

Connecting in

Our DPSN theme for August is ‘Connection’.  Connection is a hugely important part of the human experience and this month we’ve asked our bloggers to reflect on how they connect to others, themselves or the world around them.  We want to hear your thoughts on connection too, so let us know in the comments below, or jump over to our Facebook page to join the conversation.

The passion – compassion – pity – contempt chain

Most close relationships — be they parental, friendships, intimate or professional — begin with passion. We see all the good things — the cuteness, the interesting ideas, the good looks, the skills, the strengths.

As the relationship matures and develops, we need to bring in compassion. This allows us to understand and excuse the naughtiness, the lateness, the strange habits, the occasional inflexibility, the weaknesses.

Taking flight from fear

Within the last year or two I seem to have developed a fear of flying. I still travel by plane, of course, because there are places I want to see and places I need to go. But flying makes me feel considerably more anxious than it ever used to.
Being a therapist, I’ve naturally done a huge amount of navel-gazing and self-reflection as to what this fear is about and why it has developed.

OPD (Obsessive Productivity Disorder)

Did you know that NZ has a Productivity Commission? I didn’t, until I Googled ‘productivity’ in order to write this blog. According to the website, “The Government has asked the Commission to investigate how to make overall improvements in the design and operation of regulatory regimes in New Zealand.”

Productivity is defined by Statistics New Zealand as “a measure of how efficiently production inputs are being used within the economy to produce output.” It goes on to say that a key determinant of a nation’s standard of living is an improvement in productivity.

But have we gone too far with productivity? Has it become an obsession? Do we conflate the meaning of productivity with stress, busyness and over-achievement?

An (un)healthy obsession

June is ‘obsessions’ month on DPSN. We’ve asked our bloggers to tell us all about their secret (or not so secret!) obsession. Whether they’re healthy or a causing a problem, common or something entirely unique, we want to know what you’re obsessed with (or what you think of the obsessions you see around you). As always, we’re keen for you to be part of the conversation, so let us know your thoughts on change in the comments below, or jump over to our Facebook page to join the conversation.