Articles

November 19

You Don’t Know What You Want

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

Photo Credit Alexi Berry Photo Credit Alexi Berry

If you read my work with even a cursory interest, you must know I make it my mission to convince people their minds cannot be trusted. In the past I’ve focused on biases, and how unconscious biases work to protect the ego by distorting objective reality. This post takes a slightly different approach, and instead focuses on evidence that people generally think they know what they want, but in practice do not.

About a year and a half ago I read a book about dating by Aziz Ansari. In the …

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October 19

There is No Point

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

It is doubtful that whether there is a point to life or not is a topic of conversation in the average American’s year. In mine, it seems to have been a theme. Some of the most memorable situations where it has arisen begins with an excellent book I read at the beginning of the year. It also comes up in lectures with students and in one of my favorite television programs. In these forums, the theme is there is no point.

In one part of the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson, he tells the story of losing a college friend and becoming despondent. He decides during that time that nothing matters; there is no point …

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September 19

Increasing Willpower and Resilience

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

There has been a lot of talk about resilience lately. From people weathering recent hurricanes to earthquakes and floods, news stories have focused on the resilience of those enduring. Psychology has also been interested in resiliency, studying what makes some succumb to disorders while others experiencing similar circumstances do not. Whether or not you are concerned about your mental well-being, just about everyone can benefit from enhancing resilience.

Resiliency and willpower are related. Though some research demonstrates there are external factors related to resiliency, the same can be said of willpower. Research demonstrates both resiliency and willpower are limited resources (Miller-Lewis, L., Searle, A., Sawyer, M., et.al, 2013, and Baumeister, R.F., Vohs, K., …

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August 23

Relationship Tides

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

relationhip_tides Photo Credit Alexi Berry

This post was co-written by Dr. Limor Ast, LMFT. It came out of a discussion we had about relationships, and the pattern of approach and then distancing, only to approach again. It combines two theoretical approaches to counseling.

This pattern of approach and distancing is common in relationships. There are “games” newly dating partners engage in. At times this results in one or the other, or perhaps both partners, coming closer and withdrawing to establish that one isn’t more interested than the other. In a video on Facebook posted by philosopher / television …

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July 23

You Aren’t You At All

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

you_arent_you Photo Credit Alexi Berry

A great deal of my writing focuses on how the human brain lies, and creates stories about who you are and why you do what you do. Psychology supports this. In fact, a new movement in psychology goes beyond that, and suggests there isn’t a centralized you at all.

This is not necessarily a new idea in psychology. Since before Freud, those in the field have looked at the power the unconscious exercises on an individual and his behavior. C.G. Jung went so far as to identify different archetypes that influence perception and …

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June 18

You Think You’re A Good Parent?

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

As a therapist, I hear both sides of the story: Adults who lament how their parents treated them, and parents who discuss the ingratitude of their children for all they have done for them. Clients discuss some the worst things their parents have done to them. A friend who was discussing her parents’ transgressions recently asked me the same: “what was the worst thing your parents did?” This made me think, “I wonder what my kids would say was worst thing I’ve done to them”. This post is about just that, but not about me. It is about the tough conversations you are avoiding, whatever side of the coin you are on.

I set about asking my kids, most of whom …

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May 21

Are You Even Being?

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

IMG_3481_0 Photo Credit Alexi Berry

In existential philosophy, and therapy, there is the idea of being, as opposed to non-being. Some existentialists (Rollo May, in particular) believed people were often detached from themselves as well as the world around them, and this resulted in non-being. This post will not only discuss being detached, but also how the way we treat others can lead to this feeling of non-being.

There are three ways people can become alienated from themselves or the world: “separation from nature, lack of meaningful interpersonal relations, and alienation from one’s authentic self.” (Fiest, …

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April 19

It Doesn’t Matter

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

FullSizeRender_26 Art by Carlos Andres Lopez

My last post was on the merits of the common saying, “It is what it is.” The popularity of that post left me wanting to expound upon another saying that is heard frequently, “it doesn’t matter.” Often, “it doesn’t matter” is meant quite literally. That isn’t what this post is about.

As with, “it is what it is,” “it doesn’t matter” is often meant facetiously. The individual is usually frustrated or angry, and says it with an air of resignation. In truth, it does matter to him, but he is resigned that it doesn’t seem to matter to the other. In a way, he …

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March 19

It Is What It Is

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

IMG_3037

“It is what it is,” has been a popular statement for some time. Its origins are somewhat obscure, though it’s traced back to a first appearance in print in 1949. (Quotes). Often it is said with a tone of disdain. However, “it is what it is” is an enlightened approach to living.

I’ve written a great deal about acceptance and its role in a happier life (see “Acceptance: It isn’t What You Think”). Acceptance is a major tenet of Eastern thought, which promotes a more conscious and accepting way of living. Acceptance is about letting go of the idea that something should be different than it is. This isn’t just resignation. That …

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February 19

Raising Your Inner Child

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

inner child Photo Credit Alexi Berry / Ian Berry

The term “Inner Child” has been around psychotherapy for what seems like forever. Jung discussed an archetype related to a child. Self-help and pop psychology had focused extensively on the inner child for decades. Lately it does not seem as popular.

The inner child is often representative of the trauma of youth. It often relates to a child feeling insecure and not good enough. It relates to other traumas that leave the child’s psyche wounded in some way. Much of therapy has focused on adults learning to self-soothe, and otherwise …

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