Demystifying the unconscious…

It’s been a while, so I thought I’d try something a bit more challenging than usual, and less ranty! I’ve chosen a deliberately obtuse title today – so let’s start with some demystification of that… Most of us have a pretty limited idea of what Read More …

Therapy ain’t no picnic (and it’s not life coaching either)….

It’s a commonly held misconception that people see psychologists for ego massaging, an opportunity to experience catharsis (the idea that letting things out makes you feel better), or some sort of self-fest where the therapist builds up self-confidence in a Tony Robbins-style ‘ra ra’ session. I Read More …

Optimistic pessimism…

Apologies for the gap in blogs – it’s been a big few months with an interstate move (including moving my practice) and an overseas trip. But things are settling down, and I hope to write more regularly. Today I’m going to write about something I’ve Read More …

Urinal chess – Nature or Nurture?

There’s an important phenomenon, well-known to my male readers, that is likely to be a complete mystery to any female ones: urinal etiquette. The rules around urinals are (to men) extremely clear, and the consequences of violating those rules relatively severe. And yet, I for Read More …

Why dogs are happier than you: Understanding primary and secondary emotions…

Dogs experience an internal world that is substantially different from the one you and I inhabit. For dogs, the world is comprised of primary experiences, largely undiluted by the cognitions (including worry) and secondary emotions that we humans constantly bathe ourselves in. Let me elaborate. There’s a great Read More …

Why we get angry at the wrong things…

There seems to be a lot of angry people out there. On the roads, on the airwaves, on social media – everyone is pissed off at the world around them. Everybody wants things to go their way – and rants and rails at the injustice Read More …

Emotions as data: A different way of understanding your feelings…

Emotions are a large part of what it is to be human – nearly all of us live in a soup of subjective feelings that often determine how we act. Not only do we let our emotions govern our actions, they also provide our motivation for, Read More …

An alternate take on Mindfulness…

I’ve written a lot about mindfulness, and up until now, it’s pretty much all been about mindfulness as a way of either feeling or functioning better – sort of a ‘mindfulness for a better you’ stance. This is also the direction taken in a lot of Read More …

How to fail (as an employer, organisation, government, leader, Prime Minister, etc.)…

A few years ago I wrote a book called ‘Managing People in Organisations’ (Amazon link here) – I like to think that it’s pretty good and, my own trumpet blowing aside, it represents a thorough review of the best practices in keeping people engaged at Read More …

How not to be miserable: Challenge, mastery, and flow as panacea…

There’s a pervasive theme among my clients. Time and again, they report having pretty OK lives; they have a comfortable home, supportive relationships, a decent job, and plenty of stuff. But they’re unhappy, or preoccupied, or stressed, or overwhelmed by their emotions (usually anxiety and, Read More …

Riding the hard stuff: An instruction manual for your brain…

First up, my apologies for the lack of a post in the last few weeks – busy times. I’ll get back to a normal publishing schedule in a fortnight. In the meantime – below is an article that I recently wrote for Flow mountain bike and which should Read More …

There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute…

Today’s blog will be a little different, but touches on human credulity, especially in the modern world of mass distribution of (mis)information. As a person trained in science, it pains me to see the amount of crap being pumped through social media, and the remarkable Read More …

Neuroscience vs. psychology: Why we need to understand the hardware and software…

Last time, I wrote about the sometimes bridge between psychological research and practise. I pointed out that many psychologists practise based on nonscientific beliefs, instead of sound, evidence-based protocols. Again, last week, I pointed out that many psychologists practise in almost complete ignorance of neuroscience. Few Read More …

Psychologists vs. psychology: It’s time we started practising science…

This week, I’m going to rant. Actually I’m going to rant about my own profession. As you probably know, I’m a psychologist. I first became involved with psychology as a student 25 years ago. Since then, I’ve spent 11 years at university studying it, and Read More …

Guilty, anxious? You’re not alone…

In my practice, the most common ‘ailment’ I see is anxiety. If you read this blog regularly, you’ll be aware of my views on anxiety as a mental disorder: that it isn’t one. Instead, it’s a normal, human system that has gone wrong. In fact, Read More …

The Biggest Exploitation…

Most of my readers will be familiar with the television show “The Biggest Loser” – there are ‘homegrown’ versions of it in Australia, the UK and the US. Today I want to write not only about why they do immense harm (and no good), but Read More …

Building a better self: Using cognitive hacking to modify your fuck-ups…

Over the last 18 months, I’ve written a fair bit on the concept of self, and the various issues with being human that get in the way of our mental wellbeing. Today, I’d like to revisit that theme, tying together a few of the various Read More …

How well would you cope in a disaster? Performance in extreme situations…

You probably think you’d cope well in a disaster right? In fact, whether it’s their imagined reaction to a car accident, a bushfire, or a medical emergency, most people think they’d deal with it pretty well. Actually, most people think they’d deal with it better Read More …

Performing under pressure: What you need to know…

Some of you probably know that I’m trained as a sport psychologist, and spent four years running a Masters’ degree in Sport and Performance Psychology in London. During that time, I designed what I believed to be a cutting-edge course, had it ratified and accredited Read More …

How to exercise properly: Making sure you get what you need…

I’m on holiday this week – four days in and I’m feeling relaxed – perfect time for a blog. I’ve had this idea sitting in my drafts folder for ages – and given I’m taking a week off exercising it’s probably the right time to Read More …

The power of purposeless activity: Fun (or why I mountain bike)…

When was the last time you had fun? I don’t mean the sort of things that, as adults, we often confuse for fun, like getting pissed or washing the new car. I mean something that was frivolous, purposeless, even pointless, and yet resulted in feelings Read More …

Wellbeing at work (Part 3): Helping your employer be less of an arsehole…

OK, looks like life has conspired to answer my own question – a blog every two weeks seems to be doable, so from now on (unless I get extra excited), expect fortnightly entries. Today, I want to finish the trilogy of wellbeing at work articles. Read More …

Wellbeing at work (Part 2): Taking control…

I’m still not quite decided whether I’ll continue this blog on a weekly or a fortnightly basis – recently I’ve come up with quite a few new ideas, so we’ll see how things go. You can help though! Let me know whether you’d really like Read More …

Wellbeing at work: Cutting through the bullshit…

Apologies for the break last week – turns out that coming up with a new topic every week is actually pretty hard – and there have now been over 65 blogs (stretching over a 14 months). Hits are steadily increasing too – the site just Read More …

You can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter…

I started this blog post a while back when I first heard the expression “you can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter”. It got me thinking about all the ways (as human beings) we delude ourselves and others, so much so Read More …

Why I’m choosing to go vegetarian…

I’m back. Apologies for the lack of entry last week – a combination of jet lag and a cold made sure that didn’t happen. Today, I wanted to write about something that’s been on my mind for a while. Before travelling for a month, my Read More …

The science and practice of Meditation (cultivating your inner daily llama)…

Today’s post comes to you from onboard a train to London – normal service should resume next week on my return home to Melbourne. I realised recently that I’ve spent a lot of time in my posts talking about the importance of meditation, including how Read More …

The perils of self-esteem (or why self-confidence is bad for you)…

This week’s blog comes to you from Paris. Last week – I wrote about how believing in a particular identity can screw you up. I was writing about how buying into the notion of what comprises an ‘adult’ can lead to all sorts of feelings Read More …

Am I a grown-up yet?

Today’s post comes to you from a coffee shop in downtown Edinburgh… (for those of you wondering where to get really good coffee in Edinburgh, try the Brew Lab in South College Street.) So, I’ve been travelling for 10 days or so, and one thing Read More …