I’m Dr. Sandra Cohen. Below you will find a detailed list of my appearances, syndications, and publications over the last few years. If you are looking for a guest article or speaker, my clinical expertise is the effects of childhood trauma as they persist into adulthood. An example of a possible topic is: “I was traumatized as a child. I healed. Why do I still have symptoms, especially since COVID-19?”
If you need an expert opinion or your organization would like me to speak about this and any other topic I’ve written about below or in my Moving Forward Blog posts, please call at 310-273-4827 or email me at email@example.com. I’m happy to discuss your interests and requests.
2020: Rage: The Trauma of Having No Voice: Written for and read as a part of Library Girl’s series, “The Band song, Tears of Rage,” posted on Library Girl’s Facebook Page, November, 12, 2020.
“Rage is necessary. Grief is not enough. Rage heals. Rage frees creativity from its prison of silence. Having no voice against abusers or repressors, no voice for anger, sadness, or for all of the things that have hurt – is soul crushing. Of course, that brings rage. Rage that’s often hidden inside. Hidden in symptoms. Misdirected. Misunderstood.
We need rage to find our voices.” LISTEN TO READING
2019: Phantom Thread: What Is Reynolds & Alma’s Perverse Feeding Game Really All About? Discussion of Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2018 film, at The Psychoanalytic Center of California’s Third Annual Saturday Cinema, May 18, 2019.
“Still shaking your head over 2018’s Phantom Thread? Paul Thomas Anderson has done it again. He’s a master at exploring the various kinds of perverse power games involved in problems with dependency and love. Anderson’s new film, Phantom Thread, is another brilliant character study to add to Boogie Nights, Magnolia, The Master, and Inherent Vice (to name a notable few). In Phantom Thread, burning at the heart of the sick game Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day Lewis) and his Alma (Vicky Krieps) play, we wonder once again: who’s the one in power? And what is the need for it? Plus, we also can’t escape asking: what exactly is the phantom thread woven into all Reynolds’s garments, but most particularly, into the dangerous game Reynolds and Alma play? If you’d like to know what was going on between Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day Lewis) and his wife Alma (Vicky Krieps), Dr, Sandra Cohen has some answers for you.” READ MORE
2018: Lady Bird: Critical Mothers & Provocative Daughters How History Plays Its Part in Problems Loving & Letting Go. Discussion of Greta Gerwig’s film at The Psychoanalytic Center of California’s Second Annual Saturday Cinema, March 3, 2018.
“Lady Bird begins with a Joan Didion quote splashed across the screen: Anyone who talks about California hedonism has never spent Christmas in Sacramento. Christmas is mostly for children or, at least, the child part of us. And, few come through childhood unscathed. Greta Gerwig’s charming, brilliantly written, funny, and often psychologically painful film has a lot to say about mothers and daughters. Being a mother certainly has its challenges. Being a daughter means separating to have your own life. That has its difficulties too, especially when your mom has a hard time letting go. For Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirise Ronan) and her tirelessly opinionated, strong-willed, but (somewhere buried inside) loving mom Marion (Laurie Metcalf), separation is no easy task. To understand the all too upsetting struggles between them, we must turn to certain clues in Marion’s historical and psychological realties. What else can a psychoanalyst do?” READ MORE
2017: Elle: What Does Triumph Have to Do with It? Discussion of Paul Verhoeven’s film at The Psychoanalytic Center of California’s First Saturday Cinema, April 18, 2017.
“Trauma. We know it. We experience it. We’re left with its aftermath – when Director Paul Verhoeven’s “noir thriller,” Elle, careens to its conclusion. Leaving the theater, my mind was spinning. As Verhoeven says, the film has: “an enormous amount of ambiguity, gaps that are in the narrative on purpose for the audience to fill in.” He didn’t want to fill them in: “in a Freudian way.” As far as I’m concerned, the film is much too disturbing to be left without an understanding of exactly what transpired on the screen. That’s what I’m here to do. Elle begins with a brutal rape. Why is Michele so apparently unfazed by the attack (systematically getting rid of reminders, even throwing out her dress), soldiering on as Robert (Christian Berkel), her best friend Anna’s (Anne Consigny) husband and sometimes lover, puts it? The rape scene is repeated several times in the film. Each subsequent time, we witness a woman fighting, not as cold and detached as our first introduction. Yet, as soon as each rape is over, Michele quickly returns to a cold, unfeeling state of being. Dissociation is symptomatic of trauma and all that must be pushed away to survive it. Rape isn’t the only trauma in Michele Leblanc’s life.” READ MORE
2016: Exploring How Words Weave Skin Around the Otherwise Unspeakable, The Unknown. Paper presented with Holaday Mason, M.A. at the IFPE “Skin” Conference, Pasadena, CA, October 28, 2016.
“Holaday Mason’s long fable poem, The Red Bowl, speaks deeply to trauma and unresolved sorrow. I will show how her book bears witness to what I’ve seen in my work with traumatized patients as well as the need to create a skin to hold difficult feelings as they surface. This internal skin is created by the mother’s early empathic attentions, or later in therapy and love, as well as in the kind of writing Holaday does. Trauma tears away skin. If the trauma is early, the kind of internal skin needed does not have a chance to develop. Holaday’s complete fable is to be read or listened to again and again. I have. We will give you a taste, as I focus on one of many things The Red Bowl evoked for me, the aftermath of trauma. It breaks a heart.”
The Dangers Of Revenge Obsession In ‘Promising Young Woman.’ Written for charactersonthecouch.com and re-published on YourTango.com, June 5, 2021.
Where does revenge obsession take you? In Emerald Fennell’s brilliantly disturbing and evocative Promising Young Woman, Cassie (played by Carey Mulligan) lost Nina, her very best friend — and only true soulmate — to suicide. Why? A violent and repeated rape seriously traumatized Nina and she couldn’t go on. And no one listened. No one saw the rape as rape and no one blamed the rapist. It makes sense, doesn’t it? That Cassie can think of nothing else but getting revenge for Nina’s rape and death. The film shows the audience just where trauma-driven obsession can take you — and it’s neither pretty nor healing. READ MORE
How Silence Stops A Man From Running In ‘Sound Of Metal.’ Written for charactersonthecouch.com and re-published on YourTango.com, May 17, 2021.
In Sound of Metal, Ruben has been on the run for a long time. No one becomes a heroin addict unless there’s something too painful inside him to stop for even a moment to hear or feel. So, Ruben runs — with drugs, frantic hard metal drumming, and his desperate love for his singer-girlfriend, Lou (played by Olivia Cooke). Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal, with Riz Ahmed in the lead role of Ruben, takes us on a journey like no other. It’s the journey of a man who’s faced with finding the silence inside, a silence that might take him to his real self — if he can let it happen. READ MORE
Dementia & The Fight To Hold Onto Who He Was In The Film ‘The Father.’ Written for charactersonthecouch.com and re-published on YourTango.com, May 11, 2021.
The brilliance — and terror — of Florian Zeller’s The Father is that we’re living inside the mind of an aging man losing his identity to dementia. To watch it from the outside is bad enough. I know. I was that daughter, too. But to be the one losing his grip on who he was is truly heartbreaking. Reality’s blurred, time’s not static, past and present are mixed up with each other, and people are not who they seem; confused with memory, fantasy, and warring parts of The Father, himself. READ MORE
From ‘The Trial Of The Chicago 7,’ Lessons On Speaking Out — No Matter What. Written for charactersonthecouch.com and re-published on YourTango.com, May 2, 2021.
The horror of Bobby Seale’s gagging by Judge Julius Hoffman in Aaron Sorkin’s timely and Oscar-nominated film, The Trial of the Chicago 7, is an image of what Black Lives Matter is fighting against. It’s an image of how being silenced provokes rage. The history and trial speak for themselves. As a psychoanalyst, I can talk about how personal historical forces in your mind sometimes create violent opposition to speaking out, thinking for yourself, and being who you are. You — anyone, really — can feel like you’re “on trial” for your thoughts if you go against what you’ve been taught that you “should” — or “should not” — think and believe. So, how do you ensure that you can speak out? READ MORE
How A Lonely ‘Nomad’ Gets By In The Land Of Loss, From The Oscar-Winning ‘Nomadland.’ Written for charactersonthecouch.com and re-published on YourTango.com, April 29, 2021.
Loss can feel like a nowhereland of moving aimlessly from feeling to feeling, place to place, inside your mind. You’ve lost the home you know, with a person that you love. There’s sadness, anger, memories — as you grapple with the challenges of an uprooted life. Chloé Zhao’s Oscar-winning film for Best Picture, Nomadland, takes us there, with Frances McDormand’s Fern leading the way through the open expanses of loss. Loss is a journey, not unlike the one Fern takes in her trusty van, Vanguard. And, in the film’s hopeful story of Fern and other nomads she meets, what do we learn about grief? READ MORE
What Makes A Talented Man Drink Himself To Death? The Film ‘Mank’ Examines Addiction & Self-Hate. Written for charactersonthecouch.com and re-published on YourTango.com, April 27, 2021.
Herman Mankiewicz was a tragic figure — in 1940s Hollywood and in David Fincher’s Oscar-winning film for Best Cinematography and Production Design, Mank. Sure, Mank stood up for what was right and against what was wrong at MGM and in the political world of the times. He had his principles, expressed too often in self-destructive ways. He was equally hurtful towards those who loved him. In fact, he turned away from love as he drank himself to death. Why couldn’t Mank get out of his “self-created trap?” Why does such a talented man not love himself? READ MORE
2021: Why Do Girls Like Bad Boys? 6 Truths About This Trope from Classic Film ‘A Face in The Crowd.’ Written for charactersonthecouch.com and re-published on YourTango.com, January 17, 2021.
Have you ever fallen in love with the narcissistic “bad boy”? Lonesome Rhodes (played by Andy Griffith), a brash, charming drunken drifter, is turned into a radio personality by Marcia Jeffries (played by Patricia Neal) in Elia Kazan’s 1957 classic, A Face in The Crowd. Perhaps the real question lies in why a woman like Marcia falls for such a man. Yes, “sexy sells” to some women. But, aside from the sex appeal of narcissistic bad boys, why does Marcia fall so hard? What draws her in? And what fateful mistakes does she make in loving the wrong man? READ MORE
2020: ‘My Octopus Teacher’ & Why Healing Means Returning to The Same Place. Written for charactersonthecouch.com and re-published on YourTango.com, December 30, 2020.
Why return to the same place over and over? Because it can sometimes be healing. Documentary filmmaker, editor, and cameraman Craig Foster says it best in his moving, life-altering, love-story, My Octopus Teacher. “That’s when you see the subtle differences. That’s when you get to know the wild.” Going through a wildly tumultuous emotional time is not so different from the Cape of Storms. The more you go deep inside, over and over, to look at the tangled underwater terrain of your feelings, the more you see the nuances that can set you free. READ MORE
2020: 5 Suggestions for Coping with Prolonged Pandemic Grief. Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com on December 28, 2020.
Does your sadness not stop? Do you feel trapped in a cycle of despair? You’re not alone. Almost one year of a global pandemic is enough to put anyone in a state of prolonged grief. But there are things you can do to cope. It might be hard to believe that. With all the losses: Life as you knew it, grieving a job or loved one who passed, the sadness and grief can feel like too much to bear. How do you go on? What can you do? READ MORE
2020: Lessons of Unspeakable Trauma from the film “Get Out,” Written for charactersonthecouch.com and re-published on YourTango.com, November 2, 2020.
Jordan Peele’s brilliantly conceived 2017 film, Get Out, does its job of shattering the myth that we are living in a post-racial America. My great uncle, Leo Hurwitz’s film, Strange Victory, tried to do the same in 1948, after we collectively won the war against Hitler but came home to racism here in the US. It’s now 72 years later and there’s still too much to be scared of when it comes to racial tension in this country. Peele says he made Get Out to face his fears of “… Human beings. What people can do in conjunction with other people is exponentially worse than what they can do alone. Society is the scariest monster.” READ MORE
2020: How to Date in A Pandemic: Why Slow & Steady Is The ‘New Normal,’ Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, October 29, 2020.
“These times are unprecedented, and you’re likely wondering how to date in a pandemic when the end isn’t in sight. You might be asking yourself: “What can I do about it? How do I date safely?” You don’t want to be alone. Maybe you haven’t been in a relationship since COVID-19 forced you into isolation. Or perhaps you broke up with someone during this stressful time. Either way, you want to date! But how?” READ MORE
2020: If You Were A Victim of Child Sexual Abuse, You Need to Read This, Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, October 28, 2020.
“The list of negative effects of child sexual abuse is long. But if you want to learn how to love yourself and build self-esteem after trauma, you certainly can. Sexual abuse is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to a child. If it happened to you, you live with one of its worst after-effects: low self-esteem. Feeling bad about yourself is a terrible thing to live with. When you’ve been sexually abused, this feeling might be with you constantly along with the trauma and low sense of self-worth. There are endless ways to feel worthless. A voice in your head keeps finding fault with you. Self-doubt, even self-hate, is the albatross you wear around your heart.” READ MORE
2020: The Effects of a Narcissistic Mother, As Seen In ‘The Manchurian Candidate,‘ Written for charactersonthecouch.com and re-published on YourTango.com, October 12, 2020.
“A narcissistic mother uses her children. She controls them, starves them of love. In, The Manchurian Candidate (1962), that’s Eleanor Shaw Iselin, mother of Raymond Shaw. Raymond is deeply convinced he’s unlovable. No wonder he has enough hate to be brainwashed to kill. “Yes, Mother,” “Yes, ma’am,” and “Yes, sir,” govern his responses. For many people suffering narcissistic abuse from a parent, the idea of being so controlled by a parent isn’t even that unreal.” READ MORE
2020: 4 Ways Narcissistic Relationships Hurt Your Self-Esteem, Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, October 5, 2020.
“Narcissists draw you in with their charm and compliments. You needed love. But your partner didn’t give it. Now, you’re suffering, whether you’re in or you’re out. And, you’re reeling from the confusion and hurt of being engaged in a narcissistic relationship. They seemed so into you, all those promises and adoration. Then things changed, maybe subtly at first. They got more distant and critical. What happened? They’re a narcissist who used you for your love.” READ MORE
2020: How to Find Your Voice When You’re Scared to Speak for Yourself. Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, September 20, 2020.
“Are you scared to speak for yourself? Right now, people all over the country are speaking out and protesting. Maybe you wish you could be like them, but you can’t say what’s on your mind. Ever. How do you stop being scared and start speaking for yourself? The question is: What or who has silenced you? This isn’t an uncommon problem. But it’s a very painful one when it’s yours, and it can come up in many different situations. You have things to say in a meeting or in class, but you hold back. Someone else says it first. You try to say how you feel, but you’re told, “You’re too sensitive,” or some other criticism. You have an opinion, but you can’t voice it because you’re afraid it’s wrong … Everyone has the right to a voice. Everyone needs to be heard. So, where do you start? Here are 4 steps to find your voice and speak for yourself.” READ MORE
2020: 6 Ways Childhood Abandonment Issues Affects You into Adulthood. Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, September 16, 2020.
Did you suffer abandonment as a child? Were you neglected? Perhaps you were a child of divorce, in foster care, or left to figure things out on your own. If so, you may still be suffering the effects of abandonment issues. It’s never too late for help or healing. But that often takes a kind of trust that’s hard to come by if your childhood was hard. And it also means being able to grieve. Yet, sadness can seem immense, like you might drown in it. It’s hard to grieve alone.” READ MORE
2020: How to Heal A Broken Heart When Breaking Up Feels Like the End of The World. Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, September 7, 2020.
“Are you trying to figure out how to heal a broken heart after a breakup? Sometimes, the heartbreak is so painful that breaking up feels like the end of the world. You might feel like your life is over. You may have no idea how to go on. Yes, breaking up with someone you love often feels like the end of the world. Overwhelming loss and sadness seem insurmountable. Your plans for the future have come crashing to a halt. Life is turned upside-down. Where do you go from here? Is there light at the end of this dark tunnel of grief? There is. It just doesn’t seem possible right now.” READ MORE
2020: 6 Steps to Coping with Depression & Despair In COVID-19 Quarantine. Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, August 29, 2020.
2020: 7 Reasons to Watch ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ When You Feel Like Quarantine Is A Prison Sentence. Written for charactersonthecouch.com and re-published on YourTango.com, August 26, 2020.
“Feel trapped in the quarantine of COVID-19? That’s why you should watch The Shawshank Redemption more today than ever. Yes, I mean today, because quarantine can seem just as much a prison sentence, like the one Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman) found themselves in at Shawshank prison. Especially Andy, as innocent of any wrong-doing as we are. Even if you see no clear way out, don’t think it’s dangerous to hope. It’s not. Hope is a necessary thing. It’s what breaks through those bars of despair.” READ MORE
2020: 6 Lessons of Friendship & Loneliness from The Classic Film ‘Stand By Me.’ Written for charactersonthecouch.com and re-published on YourTango.com, August 22, 2020.
“We all need friends like Gordie and Chris in Rob Reiner’s 1986 classic film Stand By Me, especially in recent times when loneliness seems to prevail. When fears of COVID-19 layer on top of old traumas, worries, and sadness, they can prey upon you like the gang of teenage bullies in the film. They won’t leave you alone until you find a way to safely feel and face them. In a world that seems like an unending place of sorrow where it’s hard to see a way out, having a strong friendship helps. A good friend reminds you that there’s someone who stands by you, emotionally, because at this time, most of us have to say, “Don’t stand by me! At least, not closer than six feet.” And that’s lonely.” READ MORE
2020: 4 Ways Childhood Loss Makes You Afraid to Love — And How to Break Free from It, Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, August 17, 2020.
“Are you afraid to love? Are you convinced you’ll get left behind? Starting something, only to find an excuse not to get too close? Are you in and out, often pushing someone away? A number of childhood trauma and losses can be at the bottom of your fears. The death of a parent. The child of divorce. A parent’s illness. Abandonment. Neglect. Abuse. When there was no one to count on as a child, of course you’d be scared … You can’t make it stop, so you seal yourself off … Here are 4 ways your childhood loss makes you afraid to love.” READ MORE
2019: How to Recognize If Your Childhood Trauma Is Affecting You as An Adult (& How to Heal). Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, August 30, 2019.
“If you experienced childhood trauma, it may come as a surprise that the traumatic problems you had when you were little are still present when you’re an adult. You may worry that your childhood trauma will ruin your happiness, relationships, or even other professional areas of your life. Perhaps you don’t know where to start to learn how to heal. You haven’t been feeling yourself lately. And you’ve been wondering: Are you suffering from unresolved childhood trauma? You thought it was over. But could your trauma be leaking into your adult life, making you feel everything is turned upside down? If that’s so, why now?” READ MORE
2019: 4 Things You Need to Know About Why You Have an Eating Disorder (And How It Relates to Anxiety). Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, August 21, 2019.
“You might be wondering: Why is anxiety so often a part of an eating disorder and a negative body image? What is the anxiety in eating disorders really all about? What are the underlying causes of eating disorders — and can they actually be considered anxiety disorders? Those are all good questions. And the simple answer is no, eating disorders aren’t specifically anxiety disorders. But anxiety symptoms often co-exist with problems in eating. The more complicated questions are “why” and “what’s anxiety all about?” The answers are very individual and best explored in therapy with an expert. But there is some general information you might relate to and find helpful when your body image issues are making you anxious.” READ MORE
2019: If You’ve Been Keeping Your Childhood Trauma A Secret, You Need to Read This, Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, June 9, 2019.
“You’ve kept your childhood trauma a secret out of shame and fear. There was no one safe to tell. Now, you don’t know who you can trust. If you open up, you’re afraid of being judged or punished. It’s a lonely way to live and bad for your mental health. Childhood trauma is devastating, no matter what form it takes. It affects your self-esteem, trust, future relationships, and sense of safety in the world. And, no matter what you do to forget, the secrets haunt you every day. You know some of the reasons you’ve kept secrets, but is there more? Plus, you wonder, are some of the things you’re struggling with caused by your secrets? Yes, keeping secrets can cause psychological symptoms and problems. So, let’s talk about 6 reasons why you might be keeping your childhood trauma a secret, how secrets lead to psychological problems, and what you can do about it now.” READ MORE
2019: When Your Inner Critic Is Making You Miserable, Ask Yourself These 5 Questions, Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, June 4, 2019.
“If you want to know how to build self-esteem and improve your self-image, you’ll want to start by silencing your inner critic so you can learn to love yourself. Self-esteem is vital to your personal self-image, so if you’re constantly dealing with criticism from other people (or a criticizing voice in your head), you’re likely suffering from some low self-esteem issues. People don’t realize how easy it is to criticize yourself for mistakes large or small, which is why you can end up with a “bully” sitting on your shoulder that’s criticizing you at all hours of the day. It can lead to signs of low self-esteem and even creative blocks. Do you hear a voice in your head criticizing everything you think? Every idea you have? Or anything you’ve already tried? Here’s the number one tip to stop yourself before you begin to criticize yourself: Get that bully out of your head!” READ MORE
2019: 6 Things Your Therapist Should Definitely Be Doing If You’re Seeking Depression Treatment, Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, May 21, 2019.
“You’re constantly asking yourself, “Am I depressed?” But, knowing how to find a therapist for depression treatment can be tricky. Yet, landing on the right therapist can be crucial in helping you learn how to stop being depressed. Your depression doesn’t let up, so you’re wondering if maybe it’s time to get some help for your mental health. But you don’t know what kind of help to look for or what kind of treatments for depression really help. Maybe you’ve been in therapy for chronic depression before or maybe even many times. What do you do now? READ MORE
2019: 8 Ways Childhood Trauma Is Still Affecting Your Life (& What You Can Do to Stop It). Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, May 19, 2019.
“Childhood trauma, like any psychological trauma, leaves deep mental scars that affect your mind, often in the way of PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can keep you from healing from your trauma for a long time — years or even decades, in some cases. There are many symptoms of PTSD you may not even realize you’re living with because you’re going through childhood trauma in your own way … Your symptoms and your life can change. You don’t have to live this way. All of this can be sorted out. If you’re asking yourself, “Do I have PTSD?” then you’ve probably noticed some worrying behaviors or symptoms. So, what is PTSD?” READ MORE
2019: 4 Types of Eating Disorders & What Could Have Caused Them, Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, May 13, 2019.
“Have you caught yourself wondering, “Do I have an eating disorder?” Whether it’s Anorexia, Bulimia, or Binge Eating, the signs of these psychological disorders vary. And, even more importantly, these disorders have more to do with emotional trauma than food … Yes, they are about hunger — or the belief that you’re not supposed to be hungry … the problem is with your emotional hunger, not your physical one. There are 4 ways your emotional hunger manifests itself and turn into an eating disorder.” READ MORE
2019: 5 Things to Think About If You’ve Been Given an Anxiety Diagnosis. Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, May 12, 2019.
“If you’ve been recently diagnosed with anxiety, stress problems, or generalized anxiety disorder, you probably have a lot of questions about how to deal with anxiety disorders and get back to living your life! But what does a general anxiety disorder mean for you, and what are some symptoms of anxiety you need to watch out for? You have no idea what to do next, and that might even be making your anxiety worse … Here are 5 things to ask yourself about anxiety attacks and how to deal with anxiety if you’ve been recently diagnosed:” READ MORE
2019: 7 Unexpected Ways Childhood Sexual Abuse Is Hurting Your Relationships (As an Adult). Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, May 4, 2019.
“You’ve lived with the after-effects of child sexual abuse, assault, or molestation for too long. Now, you’re wondering if it’s affecting your relationships and love life. The answer is yes … You need help. But either you’ve been too ashamed to look, not sure who you can trust, or past psychotherapy has failed you, too. You try to adapt to your life, but you want to be happier. You’d like to have love. Or, if you do, you want to feel safer and more open in the relationship you have. So, what’s getting in the way? Here are 7 ways that childhood sexual abuse might be negatively affecting your relationships:” READ MORE
2019: If You’re Always Depressed, It May Be Time to Take This One, Crucial Step. Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, April 25, 2019.
“Do your depression symptoms go on and on? That’s a very hard thing to live with. It’s sometimes almost impossible to wake up in the morning to face another day. You finally get up, put on a good face, go to work or school. You do your best. But the hours drag by and you can’t wait to get home and be finished. Life isn’t happy at all. Maybe you’re even starting to wonder what it’s all about. Will you ever find anything interesting or fun? Ever have hope again? You’ve started to think, “Am I depressed? Do I need therapy? Will I finally get answers?” There are. And, there is hope. Yet, it’s likely you won’t find the answers in what you’ve already tried. You’ve probably tried many things on your own, but have you tried psychotherapy?” READ MORE
2019: 4 Ways Childhood Trauma Haunts You as An Adult (& How to Move On). Written for Moving Forward Blog on sandracohenphd.com and re-published on YourTango.com, April 20, 2019.
“Understanding the effects of childhood trauma and abuse isn’t easy, but it’s worth exploring if you ever want to move on. You grew up and did the best you could to let go and move on. But you’ve also had a lot of struggles, especially with mental health and relationships. You’ve suffered from anxiety. You don’t feel lovable. You haven’t been able to find love that works. You’re afraid of wanting too much. Maybe you have an eating disorder. You feel hopeless…a lot. You’ve been haunted by dark persistent episodes of depression. When you least expect it (or want it), panic attacks take over. And letting go of the past feels impossible. This is no way to live. And you’ve started to wonder: Could any of this be because of what happened so long ago? Could you still be suffering from childhood trauma?” READ MORE
2021: Marie H. Briehl and Rosetta Hurwitz: Pioneers in North American Child Psychoanalysis published in The Psychoanalytic Study of The Child 2021, Vol. 74, No. 1, 294–303.
Marie H. Briehl (1897–1993) and Rosetta Hurwitz (1895–1981) were child psychoanalysts and my great aunts. Although far too hidden, they were important figures in America’s history of child psychoanalysis … Not widely known are details of the pioneering efforts of some of the earliest child psychoanalysts in the United States, particularly those who traveled to Vienna in the 1920’s to study with Anna Freud. Many of these graduated analysts returned to North America and prepared to practice analysis with children. Of those key pioneers were Marie H. Briehl and Rosetta Hurwitz who were among the original group to study with Ms. Freud … Before training as child psychoanalysts, Marie and Rose were teachers, deeply committed to the development of children. Among her reasons for becoming a teacher and later traveling to Vienna to study psychoanalysis, Marie remarked: “I had ideals of teaching that came from how we’d been brought up, from Father who’d been a teacher, through Socialist Sunday School, which gave us art, music, dance, dinosaurs. I thought it was the approach to changing the world. You start with the children and give them a chance to know things.” READ MORE
2021: Lessons From ‘The Mandalorian’: When Childhood Attachments Go Wrong, Is Feeling Nothing, ‘The Way?’ Written for and published on YourTango.com, March 15, 2021.
When attachments go wrong in early life, you have to toughen up. But is feeling nothing “The Way?” If you thought it was, what does it take to break free and allow love? This was the question for Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars and it’s the question for Mando, The Mandalorian, who also lost his beloved parents when he was a small child: Is love safe? Love isn’t safe when your early attachments go wrong. And Jon Favreau’s continuation of the Star Wars saga in his Disney+ series, The Mandalorian, tells this story once again. READ MORE
2021: ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ — This Is How Traumatized Children Survive. Written for and published on YourTango.com, January 7, 2021.
When traumatized children try to survive adulthood, they may have questionable ways of coping. But there’s a difference in the ways traumatized children survive and the ways that actually help them. It’s important to know the difference. Beth Harmon from Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit learned how to cope. And no, drugs weren’t the answer. (A note to readers who haven’t finished the series yet: Spoilers are ahead.) READ MORE
2020: 4 Lessons in Love at Any Age From ‘The Kominsky Method.’ Written for and published on YourTango.com, December 15, 2020.
Are you having trouble making love work, or can’t seem to go with the flow in your relationships? Chuck Lorre’s two-season Netflix series The Kominsky Method has some lessons in love that can help. These love lessons have two basic rules: Being totally present and paying close attention to the person in front of you. That’s The Kominsky Method, in a nutshell. Is it easy? No. But with some effort, you can learn these lessons and improve your relationships for the better. READ MORE
2020: The Trauma of Having No Voice: Response to Arlene Kramer Richards “Rage and Creativity. In: The International Journal of Controversial Discussions: Psychoanalysis in the 21st Century, Issue 3, Arnold D. Richards, Editor in Chief, September 2020, pp. 36-42.
“Being silenced is traumatic, whether by forces from without or within. Having no voice against abusers or repressors, no voice for anger, sadness, or for all of the things that have hurt. That is the most poisonous deterrent to creativity on all levels. And, of course, that creates rage. But what is the most potent weapon against those silencing forces? Being able to: Speak out. Or, Yell. Yet, some women can; some can’t …” READ MORE
2020: 3 Ways Love Makes You Bolder to Be Your Authentic Self from The Film ‘The Half of It,’ Written for and Published on YourTango.com, October 4, 2020.
“Do you feel scared to show the real you? Your authentic self? That can change. You can become bold(er). Alice Wu’s film The Half of It shows three ways that friendship can help you stop pretending and come out of hiding. You just have to be open to it. That’s the hard part. It isn’t easy to let someone see your authentic self if you already believe they won’t like you. Maybe you’ve been hurt or have suffered a loss. Perhaps you are under someone else’s control, or live with a secret you can’t share. Or maybe, you have been bullied, misunderstood, or don’t even know who you are.” READ MORE
2020: 3 Types of Abusive Relationships to Watch Out For. Written for and Published on YourTango.com, October 2, 2020.
“You didn’t see the signs of an abusive relationship. It’s taken you a while to realize your partner might be abusive. You still don’t want to believe it, and may even be wondering if what you’re experiencing is really a type of abuse. For a while, you shut down your feelings to it all — but now you can’t. Your partner yells at you and demeans you for one thing after another. It’s awful. Do you deserve to be mistreated like this? You’re not always sure. It’s confusing. Most likely, it’s all too familiar.” READ MORE
2020: 4 Steps You Must Take Leaving an Abusive Relationship. Written for and Published on YourTango.com, September 30, 2020.
“Living in an abusive relationship is soul-crushing. You feel terrible about yourself and are isolated from the world. You may be afraid to tell your friends, scared all the time, and constantly making excuses for him. Your only “protection” is shutting down your feelings and enduring it. And thinking about leaving an abusive relationship can feel just as terrifying … You need to get out to be safe. But how do you safely get out? … If you’re leaving an abusive relationship, here are 4 steps to follow.” READ MORE
2020: How Jealousy Affects Your Self-Esteem. Written for and Published on YourTango.com, September 27, 2020.
“Jealousy is a complex feeling that everyone experiences at some point in their life. Do you find yourself often jealous? Always thinking someone else is better than you? It’s an awful way to live. Jealousy not only affects your self-esteem, but being overly-jealous means you already have a lot of self-doubts. You don’t feel lovable. When jealousy takes over, you can’t control it.” READ MORE
2020: How to Let Your ‘Almost’ Relationship Go (When You’re the One Holding On). Written for and Published on YourTango.com, August 26, 2020.
“How do you get over someone you never dated officially? Things seemed like they were going well, and you tried hard to make the relationship work. Your guy seemed so into you, too. He came on strong and romantic. He seemed enamored with you, as though he couldn’t get enough. At least, in the beginning. You thought, “This is it.” Now, you’re holding on. To what and for what reason? … When you’re holding on to a man that can’t commit, what is it in you that can’t let go? Here is how to let go of your “almost relationship” when you feel like it’s impossible to let go.” READ MORE
2020: How to Use the Gray Rock Method to Protect Yourself from A Narcissistic Abuser. Written for and Published on YourTango.com, August 17, 2020.
“Do you think you have a narcissistic abuser in your life? One you can’t walk away from, at least not yet? The gray rock method’s goal is simple: Act like a gray rock. With a narcissist, that’s easier said than done. Yet, there are ways to make it work. The gray rock method is basically a means to end a narcissist’s interest in you by becoming emotionally non-responsive. Essentially, you’re robbing them of your reaction and attention, which will ultimately drive the narcissist to find someone else to abuse and unload on.” READ MORE
2020: 5 Lessons on Infidelity From ‘Hamilton.’ Written for and Published on YourTango.com, July 21, 2020.
“What does “I’m not throwing away my shot” have to do with infidelity in marriage? You’d be surprised. There’s a lesson in it, to be sure. In fact, the Tony-award-winning musical Hamilton holds many lessons on infidelity … If you’ve had a painful past, the side-effects likely won’t let you free — no matter how hard you try. So, what do you do with the pain? … Infidelity is one form worry and shame may take. It might seem to give you power over a fear of being left, putting the one you can’t quite fully love on the outside of a triangle. Looking at Alexander Hamilton’s story, you can uncover why that forbidden fruit can be so tempting, even if you have a kind and trusting love right there beside you.” READ MORE
2018: Why You Keep Meeting the Same Exact Guy (Over and Over and Over Again). Written for and Published on YourTango.com, September 14, 2018.
“If you’re like most determined women looking for love and trying to find their soulmate these days, you worked hard to reflect on what went wrong with the last guy … and the one before that … and the one before that … before you started dating your latest boyfriend. You wanted to avoid going through the same heartache this time around. And he did seem different at first … While it’s not your fault that you keep meeting and falling for the same type of man, it’s not an accident either. What’s happening is that your unconscious mind is impelling you to repeat a troubling situation from your past.” READ MORE
2018: Almodovar’s Broken Embraces (2009) Voyeurs, Vampires and Going Blind: Trying to Survive Oedipal Exclusion and Loss. In Pedro Almodovar: A Cinema of Desire, Passion and Compulsion. Edited by Arlene Kramer Richards and Lucille Spira with Merle Molofsky. International Psychoanalytic Books, New York.
This chapter retells this 2009 film in light of unresolved infantile Oedipal complexes still living in the adult minds of Broken Embraces’s troubled, traumatized, and terrified souls. Dr. Cohen focuses on the problem for the baby of being the excluded one in an Oedipal triangle, with all the dark urges and unmanageable feelings that exclusion brings. She concentrates her discussion on Ernesto Martel, Sr., who is of central importance in Almodovar’s devastating but poignant story of jealousy, lust, obsession, love, revenge, and very likely murder. And, she shows what happens when, faced with being the “wronged party” in a love triangle, the most destructive urges are unleashed. In Martel’s violent determination to break the couple’s embraces, we witness one of the most pathological versions of the Oedipal situation. This chapter illustrates what happens in an Oedipal story gone terribly, terribly wrong. BUY BOOK
2015: 6 Signs You’re Dating A Guy Who Loves Himself More Than You, Published on Thought Catalog, September 22, 2015.
“It seems like love. The two of you are amazingly in sync. You’ve found your soul mate. Suddenly, things change. What happened? He’s wonderful, right? There must be something wrong with you. There’s not. A narcissistic man is a master at the beginnings of romance. He just can’t sustain a real relationship. He’s charming, he’s attentive; he’s so romantic. He envelops you in an aura of specialness; you’re everything he’s dreamed of. You’re on his pedestal. But as high as you are is as low as you fall. How do you, account for this?” READ MORE