Popular culture celebrates the importance of forgiveness, particularly of children forgiving their parents. Unfortunately, too often such forgiveness is simply a repetition of a universal, albeit self-destructive tendency in children to let their parents off the hook in the service of maintaining a connection with caretakers upon whom children are completely dependent. Facing the pain that parents were responsible for inflicting is usually a necessary part of psychological growth and, ultimately, of self-forgiveness.
I’m happy to announce that I’m launching a new podcast in January that I’m calling “Mysteries of the Mind.” I’m going to take up a different topic in psychology each week, topics that highlight the interesting and powerful ways our unconscious minds affect our lives. I’m aiming this podcast at lay people, not professional therapists. […]
Sometimes it seems that it took images of crying toddlers and grieving mothers to mobilize Americans against Donald Trump and his Right-wing enablers. Of course, there has certainly been a “resistance” to Trump before now, but nothing like what erupted following the implementation of Trump’s zero tolerance policy. Notwithstanding, the current Right-wing echo chamber’s cynical spin about these news stories, the outpouring of spontaneous indignation about forced family separations at the border spanned the political spectrum. Christian evangelicals, the UN Commission on Human Rights, several Republican lawmakers, and even the Pope were all upset and angry. The depiction of children who lost their mothers sparked greater and more intense resistance than most of Trump’s other offensive and provocative initiatives.
What causes depression and anxiety? I have been a practicing psychologist and psychoanalyst for almost 40 years and have seen hundreds of patients suffering from both. In my experience, some factors are obvious. People who suffer from depression and anxiety have experienced stresses and traumas in their development that predispose them to mood disorders. Garden-variety psychodynamic theory teaches us that issues involving loss, neglect, guilt, and rejection usually figure prominently in the backgrounds of people who present with significant symptoms of depression and anxiety.