Tag Archives: Psychology

Table For One: The Other Empty Chair Technique

I like to sit in cafes pretending to write a screenplay. Even when I’m in a café writing this blog, I pretend I’m writing a screenplay. This is because I like going to cafes, I often go by myself, and I would rather that people think I am writing a screenplay than that they jump to the conclusion that I have no friends. Or that I have a blog. If I had spent as much time actually writing a screenplay as I have pretending to write a screenplay, I’d probably have written a pretty good one by now. And by “good”, I mean “long”.

Empty chairs

Why don’t you tell the empty chairs what you would like to say to all those people who could be sitting in those chairs judging you right now?

I have no problem doing things alone, but I do have a problem with being judged about it. I don’t need eight years of therapy school to tell me that this is irrational. Sure, people probably won’t even notice that I’m alone, and sure, doing things alone doesn’t mean someone has no friends, and of course it shouldn’t matter even if a complete stranger did believe that of me. And it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter in the slightest. Unless that stranger is giving me a funny look. Continue reading →

Is Procrastination Worth the Wait?

It’s rare that I hear procrastination referred to in a positive light.  Perhaps at high school, when some of my esteemed classmates would exhibit their extreme cool by saying they were procrastinating studying for exams.  They didn’t actually mean they were putting off studying, they were implying that they had no intention of studying.  More than that – they were implying that only dickheads cared about school.  Of course, only us dickheads could appreciate the irony of misusing the term procrastinate in a sentence intended to demonstrate the insignificance of a good education.

Continue reading →

Why OCD and Music Festivals Don’t Mix. Yet.

After six weeks of trying to write this blog post, I came to the conclusion that I simply could not identify with a fear of contamination.  I couldn’t imagine experiencing a deep feeling of being unclean, an unshakeable physical and emotional belief that something unseen will make me sick and that there are no cleaning products available that can adequately wash away the grime.  There was no way I could relate to having to stay away from anything potentially dirty so as to avoid a two-hour shower ritual, or to reducing my water consumption because every toilet seems like a biological landmine.  And then last week I spent three days camping at a music festival.  Now I get it. Continue reading →

Pay it Forehead, or When Did Giant Foreheads Become Socially Acceptable?

I have a huge head, and it’s roughly 40% forehead.  Whenever I casually refer to this fact, most people kindly try to reassure me that it’s really not that big. But it really is.

You know that point in the early 90s when bike helmets suddenly got smaller?  Mine didn’t.  My head simply grew like a goldfish to fill the space left by the improvements in helmet technology.  Despite my protestations, every single helmet seller I’ve ever encountered has insisted I try on a size Small or Medium, and subsequently suffered the embarrassment of resting it like a fez upon my crown before mumbling something about children’s sizes and scurrying off to find something more realistic. I’m not imagining it. Continue reading →

42K to Couch to 5K – The Training Plan That Got Me Running Less

For three weeks, the following visuals triggered a flash of pure rage in me: running shoes, technical fabrics, my Garmin, shorts, the gym, food with “energy” in its name, emails from the charity I’d run for, and anyone who was out running or might have just been running or was possibly just about to go running, or could have run at some point in their life.  And Top Gear, but that may have been unrelated.

Most infuriating were those smug, leap-out-of-bed-types bounding across Primrose Hill regardless of the weather, too smitten with running to be even remotely bothered to judge those foolish enough not to have caught on to their miracle remedy for the crushing reality of adult life.  What was their problem?  Who the hell did they think they were?  How on earth could I become one of them? Continue reading →

Running, I love you. Take Me Back, I’m in it for the Long Run. (Not Much Distance, Part II)

Click here to read Part I, Not Much Distance Left to Run – How a Marathon Killed My Love of Running.

Yesterday I asked running to give me a second chance. I know I spent some time with the sofa but, you know, we were on a break. Continue reading →

Sleep Slidin’ Away… (Part I)

“Let me just check that I’ve understood you correctly. You’re telling me that you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re hitting snooze a lot because you’ve not slept enough, having to drag yourself out of bed because you didn’t get enough sleep, you’re generally late to work, and then once you get there you’re tired most of the time on account of all that sleep you’re not getting? You know what I think you need? Let’s cut back a little on your sleep.” Continue reading →

The only thing we have to fear is anything remotely frightening. But just until we realise it’s not. (Part II)

Read The only thing we have to fear: Part I

The review
As a little Easter treat, I planned to spend the weekend finding out what it would be like to terrify myself by watching the scary movies I have avoided for the past 14 years. Before I got started, I put myself through the same process I use when setting up experiments in CBT: making sense of why it is how it is, and reviewing what could be lost and gained from trying something different. Continue reading →

The only thing we have to fear is anything remotely frightening. And fear itself.

“I think maybe you’re not getting scared enough.” These actual words from this actual psychologist to an actual patient, explaining why they weren’t yet seeing any improvements from CBT. What I wanted to know was what was stopping them from amping up the fear levels. I assume what you want to know is why on earth I was terrorising my patient. Continue reading →

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