Underlying classes of sexual fantasy provide useful data and stimulate the imagination.

Tim Samuel on Pexel

KEY POINTS

  • Sexual fantasy is core to the human experience.
  • Sexuality is self-contradictory, built into our day-to-day lives, a source of public obsession, and shrouded in secrecy and shame.
  • Identifying the four classes of sexual fantasy helps individuals and couples and provides insight into human sexuality.

Sexual fantasy is, for many people, part of the fabric of everyday life. Highly personal and private, a potential source of embarrassment, shame, or even reprobation, sexual fantasy is shared in direct personal interactions sparingly, if at all.

Sexual material is increasingly unacceptable in any open interpersonal setting, more recently given the needed attention to reducing…


New research on military personnel highlights the body in trauma.

Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder diagnosed in patients with multiple symptoms following exposure to trauma. According to the National Center for PTSD, while about 50 percent of people experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, about 6 percent of people will experience PTSD in their lives, though some estimates are higher. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that about 3.5 percent of US citizens have PTSD in the prior year and nearly 7 percent with PTSD.

Is PTSD is a hidden epidemic?

As the stigma surrounding mental illness gradually fades, there…


Photo Credit: Grant H Brenner, used with self-permission

Reflections from a disaster mental health volunteer

On 9/11, I was the Chief Resident working in the Psychiatric Emergency Department at Mount Sinai Hospital. Interrupting our discussion of how to best care for the patients with us from the prior evening, we watched the news while first one and then the second tower were struck. The prior year I’d attended a talk given on working with Earthquake survivors in South America, and had volunteered for a group called “Disaster Psychiatry Outreach” (DPO).

With DPO, I volunteered in various capacities working directly with families, planning a response, following up with people we’d assisted, and later responding to disasters…


New research looks at how unpredictability influences enjoyment of life.

Photo Credit: Grant H Brenner, copyright 2021

KEY POINTS

  • Life is both uncertain and predictable, and uncertainty can make people feel anxious and out of control.
  • Uncertainty also opens up room for positive change, if approached constructively.
  • Savoring, research suggests, is a potential adaptive response to uncertainty.

Uncertainty is a double-edged sword. Uncertainty tends to make people more anxious and leads to efforts to control what happens. Expecting the worst can be self-protective, making it harder to be surprised when bad things happen. At the same time, anticipating that things will go poorly can influence our decisions and behaviors and increase the likelihood of negative outcomes. …


New research on what we seek in others for sustainable satisfaction

Everton Vila/Unsplash

KEY POINTS

  • Eleven key traits define what people look for from partners in long-term intimate relationships.
  • Partner traits are key to long-term relationship durability and satisfaction.
  • Relationship satisfaction is more important for some partner traits than others.

There are many reasons people stay in intimate relationships — and many reasons we don’t. Some of those factors are situational, such as whether there are other options available and the cultural surround; some of those are related to personalities, such as attachment style or self-concept clarity; while others are about the relationship itself and dynamics of the couple.

A rose by any other name

For those of us interested in…


New data on how bullying, ghosting, and cancel culture affect younger people in the workplace offers useful suggestions for constructive avenues for change.

Chris Montgomery/Unsplash

This post was written by Grant H. Brenner, James R. DellaNeve, and Santor Nishizaki.

KEY POINTS

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated changes in the workplace, significantly impacting Generation Z or “Zoomers.”
  • Lower tolerance for bullying and a greater tendency to ghost makes it more likely for Gen Z’ers to change jobs easily.
  • Dealing with interpersonal problems by “canceling” others makes it harder to build resilient, productive work groups.

No, not everyone under 40 is a Millennial. Generation Z (born after approximately 1995) will make up 27 percent of the workforce by 2025 and is now entering (or exiting) your office at increasing…


Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

New research provides critical data for transgenerational collaboration.

by Grant H. Brenner, James R. DellaNeve and Santor Nishizaki

KEY POINTS

  • COVID has accelerated emerging trends in Gen Z employment considerations.
  • Gen Zers may appear paradoxical, wanting both higher support and more flexibility.
  • In-person work environments are desirable at times, especially during onboarding and important conversation, but at other times are unwanted.
  • Investing more resources up front is likely to set the right tone with Gen Z staff.

Gen Z–born after 1995–has grown up more egalitarian. They may call their parent’s friends by first name. They don’t automatically respect authority just because; you earn it. They don’t take things for granted…


Research identifies critical domains to emphasize in pursuing effective psychotherapy.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

by Emma Newman, with Grant Brenner

KEY POINTS

  • Therapy can be effective for many, not just in relieving symptoms of mental illness but also in catalyzing deeper transformation.
  • People seeking help can be confused by how therapy can help and on what to focus.
  • Recent research on therapy outcomes can help provide clear goals to focus on in therapy.

What do we want — and need — from therapy? How do we know if it’s working? Therapy is meant to help us analyze ourselves and alleviate symptoms of mental illness, aiding us in our various struggles. But it’s not always clear exactly…


Six ways we unwittingly let others know we can be taken advantage of in the ways we try to fix interpersonal problems.

Dispicable Me Minion
Photo by Jonas Stolle on Unsplash

KEY POINTS

  • Many people are confused and dismayed by how personal and professional interpersonal situations play out.
  • People approach interpersonal problems with three general strategies. One, the “exploitable-subservient” pattern, leaves us vulnerable to others.
  • Learning the roots of being exploited arms us with self-knowledge useful for selecting more adaptive, secure ways of addressing problems.

Recently, I reviewed useful research on how people approach interpersonal problems. This is not about how we act when relationships are going as expected or planned, but how we respond when there is a concerning situation. …


New studies on how strivings for power and love shape how we conceptualize and respond, what works, and what doesn’t work

Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

KEY POINTS

  • Interpersonal problems are often a source of confusion and distress but may be simpler than we imagine.
  • Research shows there are three basic patterns underlying how people approach interpersonal problems.
  • Attachment style and negative personality characteristics shape how we behave in relationships and overall well-being.
  • Understanding the basic patterns can make it easier to regain a balanced perspective and make better decisions when distress is high.

Relationships may defy comprehension, confusing us perhaps beyond their actual difficulty. …

Grant H Brenner

Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst, Entrepreneur, Writer, Speaker, Advocate

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