Fairy tales, sexist or not

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Fairly tales are probably the most popular and important entertainment children like to watch. It works on their creativity (bringing the story into live by their imagination) and give them an escape of boring stuff which they don’t like to do. Therefore we can include watching and reading fairy-tales on the play category of children, which is the most important activity for them. Despite all the advantages, fairy-tales might do more harm than good, because the “problem” about stories, cartoons and fairy tales, is that children learns from them and wants to be like them. 

One of the most famous fairy tales are from Disney, and their characters and stories fall within the same concept. Is usually about love and shows a lot of stereotypes. 

The Little mermaid tells a story of a young girl who wanted to know the human world, so she collected all kinds of artifacts and objects from past shipwrecks. During one of her discoveries she met a human and fall in love with him, thus giving up her family, voice and who she were to be with him. She had the help of Ursula, the evil octopus, that turned her into human and collected her voice. 

In my opinion, the little mermaid shows a good “aspect” which is curiosity, which can motivate children to learn, for example, other cultures and views. The negative aspects falls within the stereotype and roles that men and women should have. And these children grows with these roles. Since throughout history men had always power and control over women, I think that these stereotypes are a representation of a sexist society. 

The first stereotype that we can see from the little mermaid is that women have to be beautiful. But for me beauty is very subjective and does not have to be a representation of a slim body with long hair. For adults, the media plays a big role on this thought, for the children is the fairy tale ( and not only)  that teaches the world of appearances. The second stereotype is that men have to be strong and brave and muscular and even the Ariel’s father is strong and muscular despite his age. Just what I mentioned above, the physical appearance is very subjective and fairy tale and media “imposes” on our looks that affects our opinions. The third stereotype is that the artifacts and objects the little mermaid collects are all related with the household. So once more, they relate women with domestic work. The fourth stereotype is that the villain is also a women. So women are loving, caring, fragile, beautiful, nurturing etc and evil at the same time? So, they represent women has having the two side of the coin, good and evil? Like men are angels. The fifth stereotype shown is that ariel would only have male friends. Is it because women can be also evil that she would only have male friends? Or is it because men have a conscious, would give better advice and they are intrinsically good without feelings of jealousy unlike the octopus. 

In my opinion, there is so much going on in the present world, that those issues could be portrayed on these fairy tales. Why not create stories of encouragement, on not to give up on something we like, about respect, self-esteem, confidence, discrimination and many more. And it could still include prince and princess ( with different looks). 

In conclusion, my opinion is that fairy tales are a great way to teach and send a message for children, but the content has to change. There are moral values that can be though through a fairy tale and would both entertaining and would teach children.


Transference and countertransference

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Today I am writing about transference and countertransference. Hope you enjoy 🙂

Transference was first introduced in psychoanalysis by Sigmun Freud in his studies of hysteria. Transference refers to the projection of past experiences onto the therapist. Something about the therapist such as the appearance, personality or style, reminds them of someone in the past like a parent for example, and responding to the therapist in similar ways as they did with their parents.

During Freud’s early studies and treatment of Bertha Pappenheim, known as Anna O. and Emma Eckstein, he realized that throughout the therapy, deeper feelings were emerging. Feelings from the unconscious level that were described as inappropriate due to the circumstances and a repetition of the past. These unconscious emotions would change the therapeutic relationship and the way patient sees their therapist. So Freud divided these feelings into two different “groups”: the template and the repetition compulsion. The first refers to our earliest relationships as a template for our future ones, and the second is a repetition of an old traumatic experience to reconstruct them in the present. According with Freud, these emotions were all form in past experiences and transferred to the therapist. He soon realized that his patient’s free association had already nothing to do with the problems that brought them there, but had to do with their feelings towards the therapist. This feelings not only impeded the analyses process but also made him to become the focus of their emotions that could lead to dependency, sexual obsession, terror or hatred. Freud believed that the oedipal complex was the main cause of most transference occurrence.

After Freud’s first introduction of transference, its use and interpretations spread through every psychology school and remain debated until today, as Joao G. Pereira (2010) noted that, transference and countertransference can take many names “such as acket-systems and games in transactional analysis; schema based negative-automatic-thoughts and interpersonal strategies in the cognitive-behavioral approach; conditioned maladaptive responses or stimulus generalization in behaviorism; rigidity of constructs in personal constructs psychology; and narrative prototypes in narrative psychotherapy to name just a few” ( p. 9) .

Today the idea of transference can be summarized with transferring the understanding of a person onto another. Thus, is when we compare someone we don’t know with a similar person in the past and behave the way we did with them.

Like Mark Dombeck (2005) said that transference occurs in similar ways as we see on illusion below.


(Triangle illusion, Mark Dombeck 2005)
(Triangle illusion, Mark Dombeck 2005)


When we see the illustration, the first thing that comes to mind is the triangle, although there is no triangle in the picture. This happens because we have a lot of past experience with triangles, thus when looking to the figure, unconsciously, is the triangle that we see. This kinds of optical illusion shows how our brain forms schemas to understand the world. Our brain forms together patterns of the world into a schema, and when one new information joins the brain we place that information into “the right” schema. Similarly when we first meet someone we unconsciously try to understand that person base on first impressions. And as we get to know more in-depth that person, we also place him/her into a schema. Our brain does it because we could match something old with something new and all the knowledge stored inside that schema applies to the new reality – the present. we also create schemas of ourselves which is called self-concept and the relationships we have with others. Is these relationship, schemas is what is transferred to another person, or therapist in this case.

By having this knowledge, therapist can use transference as a therapeutic tool. It helps on the clients’s personal growth and works on the client’s awareness as it gives information about the client’s inner world as well. Recognizing transference by itself might not help a lot, but adding this technique to the therapeutic relationship ( that serves as a vehicle to change) and the treatment, it might make a big difference. There are many signs of transference that we can identify on the client’s non-verbal behavior and emotional reaction.  Like for example sudden change on the client’s expressions, change of topic, tapping foot and so on, and anger, frustration, disappointment onto the therapist, respectively. As I mention before, these behaviors and reaction serves as a good source of information about the client’s past and actual experience and relationships outside the therapy.

On the other hand, countertransference is the therapist’s emotions and reactions toward the client, in which the same process (transference) occurs. Psychologist often notice and handle their counter-transference. They find a way to deal with their own issues to not superimpose on their work. In case they can not manage it, they refer the client to another therapist.

Counter-transference plays a big role on the client’s therapy as well, because any change of the therapist behavior or just even on their tone of voice might provoke an emotional reaction and rise automatic thoughts such as “talking in command (or hesitating) tone of voice, increased frequency of thoughts about a client outside sessions, or perhaps avoidance of returning a client’s phone call or tardiness in starting or ending a session” (Prasko et al., 2010).  Moreover, on a study conducted by Betan et al. on 181 psychiatrist and clinicians in North America, found out that “Counter-transference patterns were systematically related to patients’ personality pathology across therapeutic approaches, suggesting that clinicians, regardless of therapeutic orientation, can make diagnostic and therapeutic use of their own responses to the patient”. Therefore, counter-transference has a part on the client’s recovery as well.

In conclusion, transference and counter-transference is a process that lightens “hidden thoughts, feelings, wishes and motivations that would otherwise remain hidden and troubling” (Dombeck, 2005). Its “discovery” was not only important to understand deeply our patient’s trouble but also to help them overcome that situation and correct their faulty thoughts. Thus, serving as an important tool on recovery. Although, awareness of transference does not apply on disorders of biological nature, such as schizophrenia or autism, it is very helpful on problems of anger and depression.



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What is Love?

As the most beautiful emotion we can have, sometimes can be the most painful thing we can experience. 

 But before thinking in such negative way, love can bring us to a world where nothing bad can happen to us since it makes us feel more secure and positive as if butterflies comes to our stomach and as we daydream most of the time. Pounding hearth and being more energized when we meet that person are as common as daydreaming and butterflies.

But the question still remains. Why do we fall in love? There are different views like philosophy, biology, psychology and so on, that tries to answer the question, but what I am presenting is a topic that we don’t talk much about it, that is self-expansion. 

Self-expansion is all about the human needs for opportunities to gather new knowledge, human growth and experience. When it comes to a relationship, your partner can help on your own growth and vice-versa.  It  predicts how new relationships are sustained and develop over time, for example you engage in new kinds of activities because in the beginning of a relationship you always discover new things about the person you are interested in.

It also explains why we get interested in another person ( probably she/he might giver new opportunities for self-expansion) and also why some couples breaks up (can may be of boredom when there’s no more self-expansion), why break-up hurts  and how we cope with it ( as an opportunity for self-expansion).

This is only one of many theories of love. Let’s take a look of another one.


The image above is the triangular theory of love developed by the psychologist Robert Sternberg. According with the psychologist there are three components of love: intimacy, passion and commitment.  It represents a  stage of the relationship.

Intimacy (Liking) is in which a person feels a bondedness or closeness with another, is like a true friendship.

Passion is basically the sexual attraction and romance.

Commitment is what sustains the relationship in which includes decisions, experiences, judgments; is basically the ‘history’ of the relationship.

Usually the first stage of love is passion which develops very fast then gradually fades away. Intimacy tends to increase quickly at first then it slows down and finally commitment that always starts from zero increases over time as far as the relationship goes.

The sides of the triangle seems equal at the picture but is unusual to be that way. Depending on what the person feels the shape and size can change. For example, at the beginning of a relationship the passion component side of the triangle is usually longer than the two other component’s sides.

As we can also see from the picture, the tree components can produce 8 types of love.

Liking/friendship in which intimacy is the only component that is present on the relationship

Infatuation is like love at a first sight but it may disappear suddenly.

Empty love in which the commitment of the relationship remains but the intimacy and passion is gone. In certain cultures where the marriage is arrange the couple often begin their relationship as empty love.

Romantic love is when the couple are together physically and emotionally bonded but without any commitment

Companionate love is found in long-term marriages in which the passion has gone out of the relationship, but a deep affection and commitment remain. This love is normally shared with family members and close friends with a platonic but strong friendship.

Fatuous love or fantasy love when passion and commitment is present but not intimacy. Is when the couple wants to be in love but they have almost nothing in common

Complete or Consummate Love where all sides of the triangle are present. Is the ideal relationship that everyone would like to achieve.

Non-love absence of three components of love

Couples in consummate Love stage continues to share deep desires on all levels even after many years together. But Sternberg also says that maintaining consummates love is even harder than achieving it in the first place, therefore is important to put all the components into action because without expressing it, He says that “even the greatest of loves can die”


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Depression is a constant feeling of sadness. For some people it just can pass after a few days while for others it last for years. The exact cause of depression is not known, but there are a lot a factor that increases the chances of having it such as life events, family history, personality, serious medical illness, drug and alcohol use.
Depression makes you feel worthless, empty, like you don’t belong anywhere….


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emotional insecurity

“The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity” – Psychoanalyst Eric Fromm

It only depends on perception

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It only depends on our perception

Our thoughts are driven by our perception, which is every experience we have of the world. It includes our five senses in which allow us to act within our environment. Our perception differs from person to person so probably that is why we form different thoughts and consequently different views and opinions. That is why people are different.

Self-esteem plays an important role in the way we constructs our thoughts. Low self-esteem brings insecurity which in turn makes us think what other might think about us. The thing is, we can’t please everyone, and the truth is that sometimes, the more we try to please someone, the less respect that person will have to us and the less credit we get as an individual.

Thoughts, emotion and behavior are related to each other, therefore, one’s thoughts can affect our emotion which in turn impacts our behavior. If we are constantly worrying about what other’s might think, that would not only make our life a hell, but it wouldn’t let us be true to ourselves.

The way we live our lives and the way we want to be as an individual is a choice we have by right. A good way to start is by changing our perception…

“A man is but a product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes” – Mahatma Gandhi