News and Updates

News and Updates

Stay up to date with the latest Nutters news.

Kyle MacDonald: Why Gay Conversion Therapy Should be Banned

Last week two petitions with a total of over 20,000 signatures were presented to the Government calling for "gay conversion therapy" to be made illegal.

The idea is simple. Conducted almost exclusively by any number of independent churches, and in some centres catholic organisations, practitioners claim to be able to "cure" homosexuality, like any other mental illness or behavioural problem.

Psychiatry, of course, doesn't have a sparkling record on issues of sexuality, same-sex attraction was listed as a mental disorder in the psychiatric bible, the "DSM" until 1987, and the ICD the psychiatric manual of the World Health organisation only removed it completely in 1992.


Kyle MacDonald: Why We Need to Pay Mothers

Psychotherapy doesn't exactly have a glowing history when it comes to mothers. Perhaps it's because many of the founding fathers of my discipline were, well, fathers.

Or maybe it was just the times, being as most of the central theories and research, including attachment theory, was initially carved out in the early to mid-twentieth century.

However, I have a simpler explanation. I think it is so easy to blame mothers because, by and large, they're there. When we think about our childhood, - there they are.


Kyle MacDonald: Why we need to end the 'stranger danger' myth

dds are, if you're of a certain age, somewhere in your brain the words "stranger danger" are etched as a dark warning.

Images of dirty old men, strangers with sweets and trench coats dominate what we wrongly assume to pose a danger to our children.

Of course, we now know that this portrayal is, at worst completely wrong, at best a statistical anomaly.

Around 85-90 per cent of sexual abuse is by someone known to the child...

Kyle MacDonald: Why is Mental Health Therapy in Auckland so Expensive?

The truth is, I don't know many rich therapists. More to the point, I don't know a single one who does it for the money.

There aren't many jobs where you would happily live in a world where your services are no longer required. But I couldn't think of anything better. It's a strange time to be a psychotherapist and our services are more in demand than ever before.

Some might say, with such unprecedented demand, we could charge what we like. Some critics undoubtedly think we already do.


Kyle MacDonald: There's no Such Thing as a Naughty Child

Are children really just "naughty" or is there more to it?

Donald Winnicott, one of the pre-eminent psychotherapists of the twentieth century - and in having a parenting programme on BBC radio was probably also the first "media therapist" - famously said: "There is no such thing as a baby, there is a baby and someone."

Often misquoted as just the first half of that statement, it conveys the idea that psychologically babies don't exist without a caregiver. In those early days there is only the child-parent pairing, and that is how it should be.

It's also true to say there is no such thing as a "naughty child". There is a distressed child and a family.


Kyle MacDonald: Are you tired of people being 'outraged'?

More and more recently I've been feeling like I have outrage fatigue.

There's just no shortage of things to be outraged about. From the trivial: the price of avocados, to the local: Housing New Zealand and meth testing, to the International: the internment of children at America's southern border.

In fact, the more I read and engage with the news I can't escape the feeling I'm not outraged enough, or about enough things.



Kyle MacDonald: Is the way you communicate ruining your relationship?

There's a tipping point in life where, despite your own image of yourself as "youth adjacent", you start to feel the generation gap. Nowhere has this been more apparent to me than when I talk with younger clients about dating culture, dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble, and the role of devices, social media and digital communication in relationships.

Oh, and Snapchat. I just don't get Snapchat.

Perhaps - in a desperate bid to remain relevant - I can embrace this as an evolution of how we relate. It isn't all bad news. In fact, my experience as a partner and father is such that the feeling of being tethered is also a feeling of being connected.

Kyle MacDonald: The hardest thing to do as a parent

I hate writing about parenting because the world is already full of a million opinions about how to raise your child. In many ways it's bizarre that something we've been doing forever has had so many books, columns and blogs written about it.

And you shouldn't listen to me any more than you should listen to any of those books. You should listen to your children.

Understanding development and the fact we're always playing catch up means we need to recognise that, as parents, we get it wrong a lot more than we like to admit.



Kyle MacDonald: Can Roseanne Really Blame Drugs for Bad Behaviour?

Last week actor and comedian Roseanne Barr had her ABC show cancelled because of a tirade of racist and offensive tweets. She later apologised and blamed her sleeping medication, Ambien, which she claims to have taken prior to posting online.

But is it an excuse? Is it reasonable to blame medication, or any drug, for bad behaviour? Are we still ourselves when we're intoxicated?

There are some side effects of the class of medication that includes Ambien (not available in NZ, the most similar medication available here is the widely used Zopiclone) which include memory difficulties and drowsiness the next morning, sleepwalking for some, and sleep eating for a small number - waking up to discover you ate a whole bar of chocolate and have no memory of doing so.


Kyle MacDonald: Signs you Need to See a Therapist

Cause and effect aren't much of a mystery if you break your leg. In fact it's usually immediately obvious.

Emotional injuries aren't quite so straightforward.

Many people come into therapy expecting, or even fearing, an exercise in talking about the past in detail; conversations focused on childhood memories and past struggles. Yet, in contrast to this most people actually come to therapy because something is going wrong in their life right now.