Entries by Boris Matthews, PhD, LCSW

Return of the Light

Several years ago the husband of a friend had a life-saving experience of light. During a psychotic episode due to a severe infection he felt he was in a pitch black space. In the distance he could see a point of light. He knew that he would survive if he could keep the point of […]


What are we to make of the transgender phenomenon? A Google search for “transgender” brings up 67,600,000 results. GLAAD, an organization that for more than 30 years “has been at the forefront of cultural change, accelerating acceptance for the LGBTQ community”1 posts this description on its website: Transgender is a term used to describe people whose […]

Archetypal Weather Report

Many people these days feel deeply unsettled by what they see happening in countries around the world – including here at home. Several international figures embody the current Zeitgeist: Erdoǧan in Turkey, Duterte in the Philippines, Putin in Russia. I could also mention would-be leaders of nations, for example Marine LePen in France and Geert […]

The Fascinating Other

We fall in love with the fascinating Other. Often we gradually fall out of love with the once-fascinating Other. What’s going on when the fascinating Other later turns into the “disappointing” or “boring” Other? I’m talking about one of the ups and downs of relationship that many – if not most – people experience at […]

Shadow and Scapegoat

Several months ago I wrote about the shadow (November 2016).  I said that “Typically, shadow is called ‘the inferior part of the personality,’ as in R.L. Stevenson’s novel where Mr. Hyde is the ‘dark,’ other side of Dr. Jekyll.” I faced a three-part task [in that piece]: depict shadow in some fresh way that everybody […]

Emotions: Our “Gut” Reactions

Emotions move us. That’s what the word really means. We experience a variety of emotions: hope, pleasure, fear, shame, guilt, dread. Emotions give us important information: they tell us the significance or value of whatever triggers them. Our emotional reactions bypass our “thinking” mind. They come “from the gut.” Our life experiences – especially our […]

First Things First: Get to Know Yourself

First things first: Get to know yourself. Then living is a lot easier and tremendously more satisfying. This month’s column is a chapter that a local author invited me to contribute; a Jungian commentary on her autobiographical account of her marriage and self-discovery*. Her story may be your story, too, at least in terms of […]

Mirror, Mirror…

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” Thus the Queen in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” commands the mirror to tell her the truth, in this instance about beauty. Honest mirrors show us what we look like. As an image, the mirror reflects what it “sees.” A Google search […]

The Personal Myth in Turbulent Times

Last fall a thoughtful and deeply reflective colleague gave a talk entitled “The Personal Myth in Turbulent Times.” As readers of The Ommani Jewel will recognize, “turbulent times” well characterizes the times in which we are living. In my March column I wrote about this from the viewpoint of mundane astrology.* This month I want […]

You, Me, and The Bigger Picture

“May you live in interesting times” is supposed to be an ancient Chinese curse. Who would argue that at this point in time we lack excitement and drama? What is the “big picture”?  How do we make sense of the times in which we live? To paraphrase Kipling’s poem, “If,” How do we keep our […]