Welcome to Dr. Tobin’s Blog
Dr. Tobin regularly publishes blog articles and posts information and writings by other authors on various issues including child development and adolescence, parenting, romantic love, men and masculinity, the psychotherapy process, the training and supervision of psychologists, sexual compulsivity and addiction, and organizational culture and change. If there is a topic you would like Dr. Tobin to feature, please email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Session with Laura
It is an early Friday morning. Not yet the end of winter, the marine layer hovers above the Pacific Ocean, concealing the sun. Though I am wearing a light sweater, I find myself still a bit chilled as I listen to Laura*, a psychotherapy patient I have been working with for several months, as she tells me about her life. Continue Reading
Why do we do what we do in our relationships, often to our own detriment, even when we know what we’re doing is self-sabotaging?
The answer is that we are literally “programmed” to act in ways that are, in essence, automatic — and we can’t help ourselves. The programming has its roots in the psychological processes underlying early development and crystallizes well before adolescence! Continue Reading
The maternal instinct is so strong that it is inevitable that a woman will treat her male lover from this instinct. For most women, this is not really a problem at all and, in fact, even bolsters their sense of intimacy and connection with their partners. In fact, most women can comfortably move between a wide range of relational states with their partners — easily shifting between the relational poles of eroticism and nurturance, and comfortably occupying the middle ground between these poles, as situations and circumstances arise organically in the relationship. Continue Reading
At their core, most romantic relationship problems involve conflictual dynamics having to do with the fear of fusion (i.e., anxiety concerning becoming “one”/fearing dependency and union) vs. the fear of independence (i.e., anxiety that involving remaining separate and not connected ).
This conflict is both intrapersonal (each person both wants connection and longs for separation, to some degree or another) and interpersonal (one partner generally emerges as the fuser and the other partner as the separator/distancer). Continue Reading
As a volunteer alumnus interviewer, I notice it when speaking with high school seniors who are applying for admission to my alma mater. I experience it in everyday life in my community. And I observe it most notably in my work as a clinical psychologist in psychotherapy sessions all day long with children, families, and parents. A colleague of mine calls it a “zombie-like stupor,” and several high school teachers who commonly refer to my practice characterize it as a kind of “loss of identity or soul.” Continue Reading
In this talk, I attempt to distinguish attachment vs. relatedness (mature erotic love or adult relationships). Essentially, attachment is parent-child bonding, i.e., as children we learn to adapt to our caregiver so that we can get what we want as we are entirely dependent upon them. However, as adults, romantic love should not be attachment, i.e., we see our partner as a parental surrogate who we just try to appease so we get our needs met. Continue Reading
The #Polarized Relationship:
-Roles, feelings, and behaviors are polarized.
EXAMPLE: one feels more and more dependent and craves connection, the other craves separation and independence.
The #Flip-Flop Relationship:
-You adopt the role of your lover in a previous relationship in your current relationship.
EXAMPLE: if you were cheated on in a previous relationship, you become the cheater in a new relationship. Continue Reading