Articles by Philippa Perry

How to Be Vulnerable - and Find your Real Self

How to Be Vulnerable - and Find your Real Self

Feeling lonely sucks. And sometimes knowing what to say and how to be with others seems so hard that it feels easier to be lonely than taking the risk of rejection. We may feel cut off but perhaps that's better than showing what you really deep down feel and than having that part of you rejected. If we feel lonely and always keep part of ourselves hidden it may feel that at least that vulnerable part is safe. When beliefs like these dictate our actions it is a default mode of defence, such a strategy isn't consciously planned, rather we were trained for it...
» Read More
What Do Your Dreams Mean?

What Do Your Dreams Mean?

Dreams, says Philippa Perry, are an important way of understanding ourselves. They are a metaphor for our psyches and a way of unpeeling our unconscious to reveal what we are truly thinking. Philippa’s dream workshop was the first co-production between welldoing.org and the how to: Academy; it was held at the beautiful Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design in Soho, London on October 28. I joined a capacity crowd to hear Philippa, a (non-practising) psychotherapist, teach us how to gather meaning from our nighttime adventures. She doesn't agree with Freud...
» Read More
What is love?

What is love?

Ongoing contact with significant others is an innate need we all have throughout our lives. We humans are pack animals, and close relationships are part of what we need to thrive. But in recent years people have wondered whether too great a reliance on this desire for love shows our immaturity. Where the misunderstanding about love may have arisen is that when you feel secure in your relationships you tend to make and maintain healthy contact with others, which gives you a sense of autonomy. This is because you are good at dependence, rather than being good at...
» Read More
Why Philippa Perry Loves This Therapist Directory

Why Philippa Perry Loves This Therapist Directory

I am really delighted that Louise Chunn has set up the Welldoing.org directory and this is why. Up until now, it has been hard to know how to find a suitable therapist and whether you get a good match with one is far too much down to luck. I’m going to share some case studies with you: Good outcomes in therapy should not be so dependent upon chance encounters. An acquaintance told me that her partner had gone to the doctor for an erectile dysfunction problem.  The doctor referred this 48-year old man to a female counsellor who looked about 22; he felt too embarrassed...
» Read More
Getting Too Close to Your Therapist

Getting Too Close to Your Therapist

The relationship you have with your therapist is intimate. You say things to him or her that you may never even have articulated to yourself before, let alone another person. You show them your most vulnerable side, and parts of your psyche that even you have trouble tolerating, yet they accept all this non judgmentally. In your relationship with them, you deepen your relationship with yourself. A therapist in this and other processes can become an idealised figure for their clients. An idealised figure has a lot of power over you, power that might be helpful, benign or...
» Read More
Managing Emotions: Learning to Soothe Yourself

Managing Emotions: Learning to Soothe Yourself

Some people find it easier than others to control impulses, manage their anxiety, moderate their eating and drinking and have drama-free relationships. This ability to self-manage is, like all human behaviours, on a vast spectrum from over-doing it to under-doing it and during the course of our lives we will not remain at the same point on the spectrum. Think of Bridget Jones’ Diary. Sometimes she starves herself on 500 calories a day, but in times of stress it goes up to around the 7000 calorie mark. It’s not just a matter of willpower. It might also be to do with...
» Read More