What learning to ride a bike as an adult taught me about life and new starts.

Picture taken by author

So I learnt to ride a bike (again) as a 35-year-old.

The first time I learnt to ride, I was 5. I then stopped riding at the age of 8 and being a relatively uncoordinated person, promptly lost all the balancing skills I had acquired. At the start of this year, I decided to learn to ride again.

Why?

I like a psychological challenge.

Yes, biking is a physical challenge, but inherent in the act of learning something new as an adult, are a host of psychological challenges. For someone well indoctrinated into a fixed mind-set[1], as I am (thank you, Indian education system), learning…


It is not as easy to identify gaslighting as you might think.

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Gaslighting is the term du jour. Everyone is talking about it, looking for information about it, trying to understand the signs of gaslighting or trying to protect themselves from this behaviour. I can understand why —an understanding of emotional abuse has developed fairly recently and it is far more difficult to spot than physical or sexual abuse, and often more difficult to understand and break away from. It is common to seek information about things we do not understand, especially things that feel personally relevant.

I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that most people have probably…


Why do we hang so much on the concept of closure? And how to find your own closure.

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Closure is a concept that has entered the popular lexicon. It has been embraced by people, as a key psychological need, typically after problematic events, such as a relationship ending, or a bereavement. The popular view of closure involves a sense of psychological completion, a process of understanding, comprehension, and feeling like an experience has been processed.

Historically, it appears that this concept appears to have initially been derived from the work of a cognitive psychologist on memory for unfinished tasks. Zeigarnik found that people have a better memory for a task if they were interrupted before completing it. Further…


Identifying and responding to intrusive and harmful behaviours in dating.

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As a clinical and forensic psychologist who works with people who stalk other people, and with victims of trauma, including stalking victims, I have a set of iron-clad standards and acceptable behaviours when I dabble in online dating. I have seen many people get hurt in a range of ways in this arena by behaviours that seem innocent.

The one time I breached my own rules, a few years ago, I experienced behaviours that paralleled online stalking[1]. It started simply. Stan* and I matched on a dating app. I wasn’t sure that he was my type, but I was in…


It’s time to move past our relentless focus on other people’s lives.

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The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a cute acronym. We use it casually in day-to-day conversation, “oh, if I don’t go to that dinner I will have real FOMO”,
“I need to buy that dress or I will get FOMO”. FOMO feels capricious; a gentle romp through the fields of what-could-be and the vistas of endless-possibility. A good match for our post manic pixie dream girl era. Behind the acronym, hides a darker reality. FOMO causes people significant distress, as people forget to inhabit their lives and instead live their lives through the filters of what-are-other-people-doing? Clients who have…


Navigating a friendship break-up with compassion and kindness.

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The modern-day trope of friendships would have us believe that friendships make our lives whole, that everyone has a significant ride-or-die group of friendships, that friends will always have your back and that friendships are forever. I will not argue with the first — we need a range of close social connections to have a meaningful and rich life. The rest however? Myths.

Some people have solid groups of friends, some have scattered individual pockets. Sometimes friends will have your back, and other times, they will be unable to give you all the support you need. Sometimes friendships are forever…


I was approached by a publisher at one of the big five houses, but had an offer fall through at the publishing meeting

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This is important to write about. We often write about our successes and wins, and fair play — we all want to share successes. However, being human is about messy lives, ventures not quite going to plan, failure and rejection. I value authenticity and sharing these warts-and-all moments, not just the carefully curated, sunshine shaded instagram versions of our journeys.

Real lives, not highlight reels.

My story started during the pandemic. After a long hiatus (approximately 15 years worth), I started writing again. I used to write prolifically and always envisaged a career in writing, but a. life happened, and…


How psychology study prepared me for writing and why defining what you want to write about can hold you steady through rejection

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

As it turns out, my first couple of months of writing have been filled with slow satisfaction, and an unexpected stack of wins, including commencing a popular Psychology Today blog, success in the mainstream Australian print media, being a featured writer on a range of Medium topics, success with large publications, a 100% curation rate and receiving an unexpected payment bonus from Medium. All of this — and I have really just started placing my writing into the public domain two months ago, have a scant handful of followers and a small profile.

I jumped onto Medium in April 2021…


It may be difficult to know where to start when making new friends as an adult. Four simple tips may help with this.

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These are the places I have made friends as an adult; university, through former partners, hobby groups, book clubs, family members of friends, and work. The common denominators with all of these?

Proximity, Similarity and Repetition.

Proximity —being close to someone, geographically. This is why we make friends so easily with neighbours or people in the same residential hall at university as us. Proximity makes it easy to access people, which leads to…

Repetition— seeing people over and over again, usually across a range of settings. The mere exposure effect often kicks in (i.e., we start to like things more…


Understanding the psychology of those who lie, con, defraud, or manipulate.

Photo by Taras Chernus on Unsplash

I was 8 when I first encountered someone who lied for no discernible motive. She went to the same school as I did and we spent an hour a day together, as the school bus jolted us home. She was given to telling me somewhat fantastic tales of her life and I became increasingly suspicious of her stories. One day, she told me that her (Indian) grandparents resided in Hiroshima when the nuclear bomb was dropped. “Oh, really?” I said, somewhat incredulously. “Yes, and I lived with them at the time,” she said, fired up by my interest. …

Dr Ahona Guha

Clinical & Forensic Psychologist, DPsych | Real Psychology, No Woo | Melbourne, Australia | also blogging @ Psychology Today | All views my own.

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