Susan O'Doherty

Susan O'Doherty, Ph.D. ( 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

May 22, 2011
As the self-appointed chronicler of rape culture for Mama PhD, I should probably be grateful to the universe for writing my post for me this week.Seriously, despite the horrendous woman abuse that's been reported recently, even the fact that these alleged crimes are being taken seriously represents an advance from when I was growing up.
May 15, 2011
I enjoyed both Dana's and Elizabeth's posts on their typical daily activities. I particularly appreciated Elizabeth's enumeration of the ways both she and her students postpone unpleasant tasks throughout the semester and must now work on overdrive to keep from drowning. It brought back fond(ish) memories of my own student years, and also made me feel a bit better about what is going on in our household now.
May 8, 2011
I did not plan to write about this situation at first, because it involves high school, not college. However, I think incidents such as this one become building blocks for rape culture in higher education, and are therefore worthy of note on an academic blog.
May 1, 2011
I had dinner recently with a group of friends from high school. Several are helping to care for aging relatives, and the conversation naturally turned to how we will manage our own aging and inevitable incapacity."I have something for you to consider," one friend said. "My wife and I have been talking about this, and we want to buy a big place with our friends and live in a co-housing arrangement. That way no one has to grow old in isolation, or without dignity. We can pool our resources and hire caretakers as needed, we can share our skills and care for each other."
April 24, 2011
In singing, we differentiate between the "head voice" and the "chest voice." The chest voice is, for most of us, the range that feels natural; the voice we use to speak with. The head voice is the higher part of our range, often less resonant but possibly offering a purer, clearer sound. [Note: I am talking about women's voices. It is a little different for men.] There are usually a few notes between the solid head and chest voices that could go either way. For some of us, these notes end up in a nether region sounding awkward or, in my case, like Fay Wray being squeezed by King Kong.
April 17, 2011
Bruce Thyer wrote in response to last week's post, "Men are rape victims also!...We should not ignore the problem of men being raped...Anytime a discussion of rape occurs, without at least a mention of male victims...marginalize[s] this serious problem. Silence equal[s] oppression.”I want to address this statement, and to argue with it.
April 10, 2011
Two of my close friends, approximately my age, were raped when they were in college. One, feeling shame that she had "brought it on herself" by not realizing that a coed camping trip would turn into an orgy, declined to report it. Instead, she went into a depression, her grades dropped, and she isolated herself socially.
April 3, 2011
Amid jokes about killing the fatted cheesecake (we're vegetarians), Ben returned home this week from his trip to England with his band. He reported having "one of the best weeks of my life."It's not surprising. His experiences included opening for some pretty big names, being videotaped and interviewed for a documentary on the Gateshead Jazz Festival, and sharing a meal with a jazz/pop idol, one of the few other veggie musicians present, who expressed an interest in his musical career. Pretty heady stuff for a 16-year-old.
March 27, 2011
Ben left on my birthday for his band's trip to England. I had expected to feel desolate and anxious, and I won't deny that those feelings were (and are) in the mix. But I have also been excited for him, and I've managed not to even think about him for hours (well, minutes) at a time.
March 20, 2011
My first response to "Felicity"'s comment on my last post was defensive. I thought she had a lot of nerve presuming that she knew anything significant about my life, or lack thereof, from a series of blog posts. I had drafted a response along the lines of:A) This is a parenting blog, so I write about parenting issues. A casual reader of my posts on Buzz, Balls & Hype might not even realize that I had a child;


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