My Writing

I’ve done a lot of writing.

RR_MockupWebMy newest book is The Road to Reconciliation: A Comprehensive Guide to Peace When Relationships Go Bad. and I recently published a workbook connected to it titled, How to Make an Apology You’ll Never Have to Make Again.

I also have another self help book, Constructive Conflict: Building Something Good Out of All Those Arguments.

I’ve also published two novels, a satire of the mental health field: Fate’s Janitors: Mopping Up Madness at a Mental Health Clinic, and Intersections , which takes readers on a road trip with a suicidal therapist.

If you would like to order any of my books, click here.

If you prefer your reading in easily digestible bits, with or without with pictures, I have created a Facebook and a Twitter account.  The Facebook page is called Keith R Wilson – Author. In Twitter I am @theshrinkslinks.

My blog is below. I’m currently working on two series, The Reflective Eclectic and A Field Guide to Feelings, as well as occasionally re-posting old favorites, called the Old Posts series.

What Drag Queens Can Teach You About Your Feelings

Photo by Ryan Magsino on Unsplash

The most feminine people I know are men who dress up and call themselves drag queens. The fact they can do that so convincingly, calls into question the notion of femininity and masculinity.

According to Judith Butler in her book, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, gender is constructed by repeated performance of behaviors that belong stereotypically to men or women. Girls play with dolls; boys shoot each other with guns. Women wear dresses; men only wear pants. Women use makeup; men seem unconcerned with how they look. Women flounce; men hulk. Women lilt; men proclaim, when they are not grunting or mumbling. When a man, despite being a man flouts convention and presents himself as a woman, he exposes gender as a performance, not as anything real. When drag queens take femininity to an extreme and parody the feminine, they ridicule our cultural norms and expose them as lies.

I’m not here to debate or affirm Butler’s ideas, but to take them into an area I know well, the feelings. When you have a feeling long enough, or often enough, that feeling will become part of your identity. Stomp around a lot and people will say you’re an angry person. Cry, and they’ll say you’re sad. Have fears, and you’ll be a scaredy cat. If you’re always happy, you might be the most annoying person they know. Continue reading

The Therapeutic Milieu

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Some milieux (the plural form of a fancy French word for social settings) are therapeutic, meaning they bring out the best in people; others bring out the worst. If you need an example of those that consistently bring out the worst, think of a maximum-security prison, a busy highway, the cafeteria of a middle school, or the parents’ bleachers at a basketball game. I wish I could give you a list of settings that consistently bring out the best in people, but I can’t. A home, a marriage, a gathering of friends, a workplace, or a church are all places that could be therapeutic, but often aren’t.

If you want to enjoy the therapeutic properties of a well-functioning milieu, you either have to be very lucky to find yourself in one, or you must create it, yourself. Fortunately, I’ve had a hand in creating a therapeutic milieu or two in my day, so I can tell you how it’s done. For many years, I worked in a program where almost two hundred people with serious mental illnesses and intense addictions came to spend the day together, every day. If we could make that kind of gathering therapeutic, then you should have no problem with yours. Pay attention to the following factors. Continue reading

Eleanor Oliphant Might Be Completely Fine But Using Therapists to Resolve Your Plot Isn’t

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Ordinarily, I avoid reading books and watching movies that portray head shrinking because I’m careful to maintain a work/life balance. But I couldn’t ignore Eleanor Oliphant. Too many people recommended the novel as a delightful portrayal of someone with serious troubles.

I soon saw they were right, and so was I. Eleanor is truly delightful, but the book did remind me of work. Over my years as a therapist, I’ve sat with dozens of Eleanors and many of them were delightful, too. By Eleanors, I mean disturbed and painfully lonely young women, awkward around people, scarred by horrifying secrets. The world is full of Eleanors. Continue reading

Cabin Fever: How Compulsion Feels from the Inside

Photo by Ryan Magsino on Unsplash

I used to live in a cabin, so I should be an expert on cabin fever.

At age nineteen, I emigrated to western New York to live on a remote piece of land, a quarter mile from the nearest neighbor and built that cabin. They didn’t plow my dirt road, so I’d be snowed in for weeks at a time, which was just as well, for the rattletrap vehicle I drove was broken down as often as it was operable. A trip to town was as special as a vacation in Paris. It took years before I realized and could admit that I really didn’t like living in the country, and would much rather be in the city, or at least as much of a city as Rochester, NY, where I am now, can claim to be.

Currently, with every non-essential business closed, due to the pandemic, I might as well still be living in my cabin in the woods. My cabin fever is back, but not nearly as bad as before. I have skills now and can confront the problem at the source before it gets out of hand. Continue reading

Your Emotional Immune System

Photo by Ryan Magsino on Unsplash

There are germs everywhere; but most of the time, you don’t get sick because of your physical immune system, consisting of everything from the tough hide of your skin, to the snotty mucus of your nose; the white cells of your blood, to your ability to sneeze and vomit all the bad stuff out of town. Fever, too, is part of an immune response, as your body cooks the germs out of existence.

The body’s immune response is as wonderful and useful as it is disgusting and often uncomfortable. Thank God you have it. But you should also thank God, or whatever you choose to thank, that you have an emotional immune system, as well. For, while there is stress everywhere, most of the time you don’t go mad. Continue reading

Evidence-Based Therapy

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In the peculiar land of shrinks, evidence-based therapy is a phrase we use a lot. It’s supposed to refer to therapy that’s backed by scientific evidence. But what they call evidence-based therapy is not evidence-based therapy. It’s a term for a standardized, manualized, commoditized therapy protocol. It’s not necessarily the best therapy for you. Continue reading

A Bad Mood

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A bad mood is when your feelings get stuck in a terrible place and you can’t change them, no matter what. You’ve been in the doldrums for weeks, sad and depressed, even though you have nothing to be sad and depressed about, except for being sad and depressed. How do you shake that feeling and experience the joy you have every right to claim?

Imagine a radio dial with many frequencies along a continuous range. When you tune into one station, you get one genre of music, Country-Western, say. When you tune into another, you get a different kind, the Classical station where they play Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms.

Your moods are like that. When you’re depressed, you’re thinking depressing thoughts, talking about depressing things, watching depressing movies, and counting your losses. The food you eat is plain and filling. The curtains are drawn. You stay in bed and never do anything. You are tuning in to a particular feeling, so that’s all you feel. No wonder you’re depressed. If you weren’t depressed already, everything you’re tuning into would make you depressed.

It looks like it would be easy to change your mood. People tell you to stop thinking depressing thoughts, talking about depressing things, watching depressing movies, and counting your losses. Eat food with flavor, they say. Pull open the drapes. Get out and take a walk. Doing those things is almost impossible because you’re depressed. If you try doing them, or someone makes you do them, it feels forced or you feel nothing at all. Even joy is jarring and uncomfortable. How can you ever get out of this pit? Continue reading