Susan O'Doherty

Susan O'Doherty, Ph.D. (http://www.susanodohertyauthor.com/) is a writer and clinical psychologist who specializes in the creative process. Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Mama, Ph.D. She is the author of Getting Unstuck without Coming Unglued: A Woman's Guide to Unblocking Creativity (Seal, 2007). Her popular advice column for writers, "The Doctor is In," appears each Friday on Buzz, Balls & Hype.

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Most Recent Articles

January 23, 2011
I have been thinking, and talking with other parents, a great deal about parenting styles in the wake of the Amy Chua flapdoodle. Everyone, it seems, has regrets about past decisions. But everyone's regrets are different. Some wish they had been stricter with their children, others that they had relaxed the discipline and allowed their kids more wiggle room.
January 16, 2011
When a reader sent me this link I thought at first that I had accessed the Onion. It’s not that I haven’t come across this type of parenting before—as a therapist, I regularly see both current and adult children of authoritarian parents, of all races and cultural backgrounds. It’s just that I have never seen a parent boast about this treatment before.
January 9, 2011
When my son was around ten, we discovered that we could access Jay Leno’s headlines on the computer. Since we both have a taste for low humor that my husband doesn’t share (for example, at one time we could reconstruct the “Asshole” routine from “Spaceballs” verbatim), and because I work late on Wednesday evenings and miss dinner, we developed a private Wednesday night ritual: I come home and fix a light meal for myself, and then we pull up the headlines and laugh hysterically as I eat.
January 2, 2011
Post-early childhood, I was never that big on Christmas. My mother was kind of a fanatic about the holiday — shopping intensely starting December 26; sending out reams of carefully chosen and personalized cards; baking tons of cookies; decorating the house to the point where the walls were nearly invisible; and entertaining nonstop throughout the season.
December 19, 2010
My son, Ben, as I have mentioned here, is an amazing guitarist and an all-around great person. He plays guitar and/or drums in several bands, and he and I enjoy singing and playing together. I’ve been taking a singing class for almost two years now. At the end of every semester, we have a “cabaret night,” in which students perform the songs we’ve been working on for family and friends.
December 12, 2010
I am enrolled in two singing classes. One I attend religiously; the other sporadically — it’s held at an awkward time, but it’s inexpensive and helpful, so my deal with the teacher (and myself) is that I pay the full tuition at the beginning of the semester and come when I can. A number of people in the class have similar arrangements. As a result, there are often people I don’t know in the class. Last week, I attended this class for the first time in nearly a month. There were two unfamiliar students among the regulars.
December 5, 2010
When I was growing up, a vacation meant two weeks in Florida visiting my grandparents. Delray Beach, with its palm trees, warm beaches in midwinter, poolside restaurants and hibiscus hedges, seemed like another planet to this suburban NY kid. Most of my friends also visited relatives over school breaks; some of the more affluent went skiing in Vermont or Colorado, or on a Caribbean cruise. Only occasionally did we hear about someone going to Europe or Israel. Africa and Asia really were like other planets, as far as we were concerned.
November 28, 2010
When a friend first alerted me to this article in the Wall Street Journal as possible material for this column, I rejected the idea. It was just Erica Jong, I thought, doing what she usually does — couching interesting ideas in attention-getting hyperbole. So what?
November 21, 2010
Earlier this week, a friend and I visited the Lower East Side Tenement Museum to take the “Moore Family Tour,” a guided tour of a tenement apartment that has been restored to reflect the tenancy of William and Bridget Moore and their three daughters, who lived there in 1869. The Moores had emigrated in the aftermath of the Irish Potato Famine, and arrived to encounter virulent anti-Irish sentiment, garbage-strewn streets, and loud and unsanitary living conditions.
November 14, 2010
Parent-teacher night at my son’s school was par for the course: everyone loves him. He’s a great student in class, engaged, respectful, and smart. He contributes a lot to classroom discussions. He does well on tests, and his in-class essays tend to be first rate. But. His homework is sloppy and incomplete. Longer-term projects read as though he had rushed through them the night before. This has to affect his grades. He’s capable of such great work — can’t we get him to focus?

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