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Potential Psychology

91 EpisodesProduced by Ellen JacksonWebsite

*Finalist 2019 Australian Podcast Awards*Australian psychologist Ellen Jackson interviews experts from psychology, well being, neuroscience, leadership, parenting and high performance so that you can learn from the best, flourish and fulfil your potential. Discover the science behind your mind, brai… read more


Tales from the Valley of Death with Rachel Menzies

Tales from the Valley of Death: Reflections from psychotherapy on the fear of death. It sounds morbid but it's not. It's fascinating.
Tales introduces us to the complex lives of 10 individuals who have been crippled by death-related fears and related existential issues. Their stories are told through interviews with their psychotherapist, internationally renowned clinical psychologist Professor Ross Menzies. It's a captivating read.
In this episode Rachel and I explore these stories and discuss cultural responses to death anxiety. We delve into some of the existential issues surrounding our fear of death and rejoice in the Death Positive Movement - a revolution in our approach to death.
Questions I ask Rachel include:

  • Why write a book about death and psychotherapy?
  • What is 'death anxiety' in a modern, psychological sense?
  • Do we all worry about death and at what point do these worries become problematic?
  • What does science say about the link between death anxiety and complex mental illness, particularly OCD?
  • How is a family history of anxiety and trauma linked to death anxiety and OCD?
  • What role does a sense of meaning and purpose in life have in protecting us from mental illness and death anxiety?
  • How can our relationships transform our wellbeing?

I also reflect on my rituals, superstitions and childhood worries about danger and death and ask Rachel, 'Is this normal?'
It's a fascinating topic and I walked away from the interview knowing so much more about psychotherapy, the relationship that a therapist forms with a client, obsessive compulsive disorder and the experiences that shape us to become who we are. Most of all I learned about the resilience of individuals facing the most difficult of fears and circumstances. Listen in!
For a full transcript, guest profile, expert tips and the resources mentioned in this episode, visit or join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

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