Read our posts about mind

iAi Debate: Madness Incorporated

iAi Debate: Madness Incorporated

In our post today, Welldoing brings you a video from the Institute of Arts and Ideas. In this video, President Elect of the World Psychiatric Association Dinesh Bhugra debates the nature of mental illness with psychiatrist David Healy and clinical psychologist Richard Bentall. While we commonly think that psychiatric diagnoses like depression and bipolar disorder are real, many now argue that they have little basis in reality. Should we abandon psychiatry and its classifications? Would this usher in a new era of effective health care or cause widespread...
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From Patient to Psychiatric Nurse

From Patient to Psychiatric Nurse

"Does it make any difference that I have had a depressive illness myself?” “Yes, it does,” replied the Chairman of the interview panel.  “It means that you will have more understanding of the patients”. In the l960s, I had been admitted to a traditional psychiatric hospital which was characterised by an authoritarian system of government, staff hierarchy and custodial care.  Battling with depression, and difficulties with concentration and memory, had left me without energy or motivation. I was panic-stricken at the feeling that I was losing my grip on...
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Great Myths of the Brain

Great Myths of the Brain

Have you noticed how often the word brain pops up in newspapers and magazines, TV programmes and radio shows lately? For a number of reasons  – from the devaluation of traditional organised religion through to advances in research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) –  the brain is having a media-sexy moment. But that doesn’t mean everything you read about it is true. At least, not entirely. This is what prompted editor of the renowned British Psychological Society’s Research Digest Christian Jarrett to write Great Myths of the Brain, published...
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Gone Girl: I Blame the Parents

Gone Girl: I Blame the Parents

It's hard not to blame the parents. In David Fincher’s gripping film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl there are many different dyadic and triadic relationships with which to engage: the husband and wife, the twin brother and sister, evidence-based versus intuitive cop, obsessive past boyfriend with husband and wife, husband, wife and mistress but the one that I kept wanting to pick at like a hardened scab on a child’s knee was the relationship between the central character, Amy Dunne (played by Rosamund Pike), and her Waspish parents Rand and Marybeth...
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Why Do People Take Extreme Risks?

Why Do People Take Extreme Risks?

Imagine climbing up a sheer wall of rock without a rope. Missing a foothold, losing your grip, or encountering a falling rock could send you flying toward almost-certain death. Welcome to the precarious world of free solo climbing. Alex Honnold is widely regarded as the world’s leading free solo climber. He has made some remarkable un-roped climbs, including the breath-taking 2000-foot walls of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. The concentration required is extraordinary. Half Dome took three hours to climb the first time he scaled it, and Honnold was one slip...
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OCD: A Life Lost In Thought

OCD: A Life Lost In Thought

I have suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder for more than twenty years, but I could not have written this sentence until a few years ago. In fact, the first time I did write that I had OCD I deleted the email that contained the words without sending it. Then, after I did send it, I deleted it from my Outbox. And from my Trash folder. And then I rebooted the computer, just to make sure. Things changed a few months later. That original email had been to a literary agent about an idea for a book on OCD. When I subsequently signed a deal to write the book...
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Stoicism: A Simplified Modern Guide

Stoicism: A Simplified Modern Guide

In this article, I present a simplified set of Stoic psychological practices, that could both act as a ‘daily philosophical routine’ and as a very concise introduction to Stoicism as a way of life. A key Stoic idea which informs these practices is that: ‘...to become educated (in Stoic philosophy) means just this: to learn what things are our own, and what are not’ (Discourses, 4.5.7). The practical consequence of this distinction is essentially quite simple: ‘What, then, is to be done? To make the best of what is in our power, and take the rest as it naturally...
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How Words Healed Me

How Words Healed Me

No-one now is a greater believer in therapy than me. But hitherto there’s been one huge problem with talking cures: finding the right therapist. It took me several years, three therapists and hundreds of pounds before I found Sarah who then transformed my life. First I had to believe that I needed to embark on therapy. I was initially resistant. Eventually it was my psychiatrist who persuaded me of how valuable therapy can be. A person, unlike a pill, can listen to your story when you are well enough to tell it, and give you a fresh perspective, he said....
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Is Your Brain Male or Female?

Is Your Brain Male or Female?

BBC Horizon's recent programme, “Is your brain male or female?”  made a valiant yet narrow minded attempt at measure and reason. I offer this blog to anyone who remains as riled as I by Michael Mosley’s acceptance of Simon Baron-Cohen’s carefully paired claim that, “The male brain is predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems,” and, “The female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy.” The first evidence cluster is derived from animal behaviour.  For example, male great apes engage in more play fighting than female great apes, and...
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Vincent Deary: Why Change is So Difficult

Vincent Deary: Why Change is So Difficult

I’m standing in a room facing about thirty people. They have come to hear me talk about habit and change. It’s part of the work of publicising my book. This is all new to me. The laws of habit, my old accustomed ways, are in temporary suspension. There is a new narrative taking shape. A story in which I am an author and some kind of authority. I’m claiming to know How To Live. People have paid to come and hear me talk about that. For the first time in a long time there has been rehearsal. I am having to think. There are feelings. I can feel, as I stand in the room,...
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