Entries by Boris Matthews, PhD, LCSW

A Different View of Why We Are Here

Let’s face it: Why are we here on the planet?  Apparently other people have asked this question before. I just googled “Why are we here on earth?” and got more than ten pages of hits. I’m not going to review them here. If they interest you, you can google and follow up. What I want […]

Facing the Dragon

Fifteen years ago, my late friend and colleague, Robert Moore, published a little book whose relevance has lost nothing in the intervening years. In his preface to Facing the Dragon: Confronting Personal and Spiritual Grandiosity, Moore (2003, xi) quotes a sobering passage from Jung’s Answer to Job: Everything now depends on man: immense power of […]

Companions for the Journey IV

From time to time I discover a book that helps orient me in the turbulent times in which we live. Recently, a friend gave me Soul Food: Stories to Nourish the Spirit & the Heart, by Jack Kornfield and Christina Feldman (1). The authors have collected stories from a wide variety of sources: Taoist, Buddhist, […]

Emotional Responsibility

In his Emotional Intelligence (1995) and Working with Emotional Intelligence (1998), Daniel Goleman focused our attention on the profound role that emotions play in our personal, work, and social lives. His presentation is well grounded in neurology and richly illustrated with vivid examples of emotions running riot; as well as calm and calming responses to […]

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 […]

Transgender

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 […]