A few years ago, I was talking to a financial counsellor and they introduced me to the idea of cognitive real estate. They were talking about clients they had who were living on the breadline, and experiencing financial instability — and the fact that it was actually really hard to concentrate on anything else when they had such pressing financial needs.

The energy and attention in their brain was constantly working on this big, pressing problem — which might result in homelessness and even further instability — and this blocked out the other things in their lives.

These individuals were…

The Reality of Essential Workers in NYC — Nobody is coming to rescue you

As a reasonably new resident of New York, I watched first with interest and then dread as life in our new city became quieter and quieter. First we were asked to work from home, then gradually sports competitions were cancelled, museums were closed, and finally bars and restaurants shuttered and, in some cases, boarded up. Now, walking or riding around the city has overtones of a apocalypse montage — empty streets, billboards still lit up and the occasional lone soul staggering along, muttering to themselves.

Three…

When we reflect on the past couple of months, it is understandable that we might feel like the rules that have governed our lives have been completely upended.

My generation is somewhat cynical and — some might say — over-informed about the world and our responses to current events — but that said, there are some things that are happening within ourselves and our relationships that might seem like completely uncharted waters: Children berating their boomer parents for continuing to attend their salsa dancing classes, panic buying of flour (why flour and not, for example, its more evolved cousin, the…

This is not an article about social anxiety - this is about what comes afterwards. It is something I have observed with clients who have gotten through this difficult period and come through the other side — maybe you can think of it as a way of coping, of managing when things have settled down.

Perhaps you know these people — or are one yourself. The common characteristics are a person who is sensitive, charismatic and empathetic. They have learned, through painful previous experiences, that the way to get through social anxiety is to take control, or at the very…

The strange link between sex, relationships, drugs and alcohol

Often when we think about drugs and alcohol, we can think about sex. After all, many casual encounters may have never happened without the benefit of liquid courage and, as alcohol causes our testosterone levels to rise, we will often feel more interested in sex when drinking or taking drugs.

In addition to this, however, there are some other interesting links between the way we are using substances to manage our sex lives. …

As a Psychologist, I wish everyone knew about this therapy

At some point in therapy, with almost every client I have, they will say something that makes me think ‘Aha — a schema!’. Schema therapy is perhaps the most intuitive and interesting type of therapy out there, and I’m often surprised that we don’t discuss it more often in writing on mental health and therapy. …

Briony Leo

Briony Leo is a psychologist from Melbourne, Australia, who is interested in sharing stories of human experience with her readers.

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