Read our posts about psychology

Edna O'Shaughnessy: Melanie Klein's Handmaiden

Edna O'Shaughnessy: Melanie Klein's Handmaiden

The leading Psychoanalyst Edna O’Shaughnessy is 90 years old today. For many this will be a cause for celebration of one of the UK’s leading psychoanalysts. For Mrs O’Shaughnessy (as she is more respectfully known by her colleagues and students) it will be just another day in the office as she leads the weekly clinical seminar of the Fitzjohn’s Unit at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Mrs O’Shaughnessy is a Distinguished Fellow and Training and Supervising Analyst of the British Psychoanalytical Society. She came to psychoanalysis from a...
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How to Get Out of a Career Rut and Start Living

How to Get Out of a Career Rut and Start Living

Do you dread going into work in the morning? An incredible half of us in the UK believe our choice of career was a mistake.Given the fact that half of Britons spend their days doing something they describe as "meaningless” and “too stressful”, there's a heck of a lot of misery out there. All too often the dreams we harbour of running a tea shop, changing careers or writing novels, fall by the wayside because the bills won’t pay themselves. What's more, re-training is hard, changing track is risky and sometimes it feels like we’re better with the devil we know. However,...
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Why Do Young British Men Become Jihadis?

Why Do Young British Men Become Jihadis?

The reasons why any young person leaves their home, family and friends to go and fight in a foreign country will always be complex to unravel.  It does seem incomprehensible that someone who has been raised and educated in the UK with no history of violence would be willing to get involved in acts of unspeakable brutality and yet we are told that hundreds have made that choice. There are clearly powerful global forces in play and we need the input from political theory, theology, history, social science and of course psychology to make some sense of it.  Yet, as a...
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Why Won't We Help Each Other Out?

Why Won't We Help Each Other Out?

What prompts us to ignore the distress of other people? We’ve all found ourselves in situations - the times we’ve seen someone taunted and didn’t intervene; when we’ve driven past a car that has broken down, assuming another driver would pull over to help. We’ve noticed a young man slumped on the pavement, and not gone over to check if he’s okay. We witness a problem; consider doing something, then respond by doing... nothing. Something holds us back. So why don’t we help in these situations? Apathy can immobilise us when we feel the impulse to flee and help at the...
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The Psychology of Overeating

The Psychology of Overeating

By the time I saw Maggie she’d been on just about every weight loss plan and diet going for 40 years.  She was in - if not so much a state of utter despair - certainly a state of utter resignation about her weight. Maggie came to me because she wanted to lose weight for her daughter’s wedding in 18 months time.  She knew rejoining her local slimming club would not be enough and was already well aware of all the types of food she should and should not be eating.  What I was first struck by was her capacity for self-blame. The slimming club plan hadn’t worked...
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The Psychology of Fashion

The Psychology of Fashion

As the seasons change they bring with them hosts of new choices about what to wear.  How to manage to look chic and stay warm? And, as life gets busier, how not to over-heat physically or emotionally. The selection of something to put on is not just an aesthetic or practical decision. It’s also about what suits our mood. On a minute-by-minute basis, we are assailed by a range of emotions. And every morning we make a decision about what to wear. The two are closely connected. The selection of something to put on is not just an aesthetic or practical decision. It’s...
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