Cardboard mockup frame of a rocketship held up by a right hand in a window.

The Fifties – Snoring or Soaring?

Let’s talk about the forgotten 50s. There’s not much work out there that focuses on the developmental psychology of these years, but their significance for a generative later life is profound. Through your 20s you’re humming along, pretty fast-paced, hopefully having a variety of experiences and plenty of fun in the service of developing a personality. Don’t narrow your horizons too early. Your 30s are busy, busy, busy. You know exactly what’s needed of you because the demands are in… Read more

Land Rover on a barren gravel road in Northern Iceland 1972.

The 50s: Flourishing or Floundering?

When I was in my 20s I met the work of a Dutch psychiatrist and educator named Bernard Lievegoed. He was well known in Holland and abroad, having founded the Netherlands Pedagogical Institute and written numerous books. He won a national award — the Gouden Ganzenveer — for his cultural contribution through the written word. What registered most strongly for me was his work on stages of development — particularly in adulthood. Although his work seems quite outdated now due… Read more

Young man looking into the distance from a rocky cliff

Fathers, Be Good to Your Sons

Many of us look forward to weekends, but more and more I’m saddened by a particular phenomenon. It’s the great number of young men out with their children with no mum in sight. It’s pretty clear that most of these men no longer live with the mother of their children. There would be as many reasons for this as there are couples, but one factor would be the man’s inability to be soft and vulnerable. I’m not one to absolve… Read more

Boy running through a field of flowers toward an urban background dotted with mosque spires

4 Parenting Tips to Live By

Every child is as different as every snowflake, so let’s get it straight from the start. Our job is to get our small self out of the way and let them grow. Children need to be raised to be who they are, in all their uniqueness. If you end up raising three children who are very different from one another, then hats off to you. The first trap is a hard one to avoid. With our first child, we tend… Read more

Two hands up, fingers spread on a radiant forest background.

The Human Capacity for Greatness Is Immense

Carl Jung was one who saw our collective possibilities. He considered that growth was an innate principle, both of the individual and the universal. He considered the development of individuality as a microcosm of human evolution. He called this immutable process individuation. It’s the big picture. We don’t look forward and imagine it. We don’t look back and long for it. The growth of individuality, with all its stresses and strains, is the process and substance of the lives we… Read more

Suburban streetscape with the neon trail of speeding car lights

On Parenting

I just read a great article by Lori Gottliebabout the perils of raising kids today. Not what you might think — stranger danger and screen dreaming — but rather our lack of perspective and failure (my words) to reflect on our own lives as a context for considering how young people might develop important life skills. What I see is a sociological thing playing out. In raising children, we will often compensate by trying our damnedest to ensure our kids… Read more

Two figures in a studio lit up by the screen display of a grid test pattern

The Beloved Son

I wrote previously about the father-son archetype in therapy, with my views that men need to exorcise their demons and embrace their gods through meaningful conversation with other men. My thoughts on this originated through my ongoing work in a group of men, witnessing how they were affected by other men’s accounts of their relationships to their fathers – as if they were their own – regardless of what their actual relationship to their father was. This is how I… Read more

Kodak-framed photo of five lines of messy "i have waited" sentences

The Winding Road of the Middle Years

As a trainer of psychotherapists and career counsellors, I’ve had to come to an understanding of developmental stages in adult life. It just won’t do to assume all grown ups have similar needs, irrespective of age. The things that move and motivate us shift as we grow older. As a friend of mine is inclined to say in regards to the mindset of aging — more and more matters less and less, but what matters, matters more and more. But… Read more

A single Australian emu walking alongside a barbed wire fence in a field of dry grass

The Empty Nest Syndrome

I’m a man, but don’t let that throw you. I work full-time, write in my spare time, and I’ve raised three strapping young things to the verge of adulthood. I’ve been chief cook and bottle-washer, chauffeur, lawn-mower and friend-keeper. That’s because the mother of my children, my partner of 20-plus years, is a workaholic — in the nicest possible way, of course, saving her part of the world. She has just stopped working at the edge of 60 and has… Read more

1935 sepia photo of North Bondi beach males in striped, full-body bathing costumes complete with bathing caps

The Shifting Morass of Morals

It is interesting to follow the current polarisation in society around moral issues. During political campaigns, moral issues are often revived as leverage for garnering votes. Gay marriage seems to come up lately as a wedge to define who is really “Christian.” It’s quite a spectacle. When I train students in legal and ethical issues, I first talk about morals so people don’t get confused about where they’re overstepping the mark. It is none of our business what other people… Read more