The myth of Narcissus constitutes the archetypal root of the character structure of narcissism. Aspects of narcissism run from the healthy developmental narcissism of a child to the toxic narcissism of the psychopath, but all have in common a lack of empathy, whether momentary or chronic. We offer some thoughts on how to tell if […]

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What does it mean to separate from one’s parents and parental complexes—the attitudes and values that have been deeply instilled since infancy? How do we discern when we are in a parental complex, whether we are aligned with it or rebelling against it? What can we do to resolve the hold these complexes can have […]

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Loneliness is a deeply human and universal experience. Lisa, Joseph and Deb examine it from multiple perspectives: as it may be experienced in young adulthood versus older years; as reflective of the need for attachment and relational security; as comparable to the alchemical metaphors of calcinatio and solutio; as a call to activation in outer […]

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The archetype of the scapegoat goes back to the ancient Hebrew ritual of using two goats to expiate the sins of the tribe. Once blamed for the wrongdoings and misfortunes of the community, the goats were driven out into the desert carrying the evil with them thus restoring a state of purity to the tribal members.  […]

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Lisa, Joseph, and Deb circumambulate the difficult issue of gender reassignment. They discuss the significance of teen girls wishing to transition and the current tendency to foreclose the meaning of this and move rapidly into medical procedures, a process of concretization instead of curiosity and exploration. Lisa discusses previous examples of symptoms and their diagnoses […]

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What happens when one is held captive by the mud of messiness? We try to understand sloppiness as a defense against overwhelming emotions, ongoing enmeshment in the primal maternal matrix, a regression to a younger and less differentiated self, and a tendency to overvalue objects as compensation for an inadequate ability to symbolize. Subscribe in: Apple […]

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Compulsive eating is a complicated psychological and biological problem. Food addiction can be a way of defending against unmet needs by displacing emotional hunger onto food. We discuss how infant experiences with eating and soothing can shape one’s relationship to food in adulthood. Two fairy tales tell of parents with insatiably devouring babies and illustrate […]

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We consider literalism a normal childhood state – children’s literalism can be funny and charming. We first grow into the ability to understand metaphors and later develop a capacity to conceptualize symbols with various levels of meaning. Later in life literalism can serve as a regressive defense against uncertainty. We see this particularly when the […]

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Boredom is not depression or dissociation, sadness or loneliness…but what is it? We consider boredom from various perspectives: lack of access to one’s inner world, a relational deficit, a defense against unwanted feelings, a byproduct of reliance on technology to command attention, and lack of access to enlivening transpersonal energies. We surmise that the antidote […]

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