New Discussion Forum and Site Changes

I’ve now opened the first topic thread on our new discussion forum, accessed either by clicking on the Forum tab in the menu above or the Join Our Discussion Group link next to the image of my book. In order to participate you will need to register. After you’ve registered, but before you can actually view the thread, I will need to manually assign you to the discussion group participants; it doesn’t happen automatically. I receive emails notifying me when someone new registers and I’ll try respond as quickly as I can.

In this first thread, we’ll be discussing the Introduction and first chapter, then in subsequent threads we’ll take up each of the chapters individually. This forum is a place for you to ask questions about what you’ve read, respond to the ideas I put forward and to share your experience with the exercises. Why Do I Do That? adapts the methods of psychodynamic psychotherapy to a guided course in individual self-exploration — that is, for people working alone — but I’ll be here to help as you go along. Engaging fully in the exercises is crucial if you’re to benefit from the experience.

You may have noted that there’s a new “sticky” post that shows up at the top of page. It’s a request that site visitors support the work I do by making a one-time purchase of my book. I’ve also added a link to some Guidelines for Submitting Comments that will show up in the Leave a Reply form at the end of each post. It makes clear that I’m no longer able to answer comments that ask for my professional advice or guidance.

It occurred to me that many of you might assume this book is simply a compilation of old posts and see no reason to buy the book since you’ve already read the material online. While I used some of what I’d written here on the site as a starting point for different chapters, more than 60% of Why Do I Do That? is entirely new material. And then there are the exercises. If you’re interested in learning more about the book before you decide whether to purchase, I’ve uploaded a detailed synopsis which you can read by clicking here.

I hope you’ll decide to buy the book and join our discussion group going forward. I expect to open a new topic thread each week, one per chapter, so we’ll be working our way through the book together over the next few months. I hope it will be a rewarding experience for all of us. Online group therapy anyone?

By Joseph Burgo

Joe is the author and the owner of, one of the leading online mental health resources on the internet. Be sure to connect with him on Google+ and Linkedin.


  1. So you state that this is geared more for “individual self-exploration.” Would you recommend participation in the forum for those of us currently in some type of therapy? Thanks.

    1. My guess is that participating would stir up some good material for your personal therapy but I’d check with your therapist first to see if he or she has any objections.

  2. Waiting impatiently here in Canada for your book to arrive. I ordered it on the 29th but it will not be here till after Nov. the 8th. I hope I will be able to enter the discussion when it comes.

    1. Not to worry. We’re going to start off slowly, and only cover a chapter per week anyway. We won’t finish with the Introduction and first chapter until the 11th.

  3. For anyone in Canada or elsewhere I discovered that the digital edition is available at Amazon US site. If you own a device other than kindle you can download the free kindle software on the devices listed. It’s very straight forward. Upside, the digital edition is less expensive and available immediately. I would think a notebook would be useful for exercises on electronic device or good old reliable paper. Best, RS

    1. Thanks for bringing that to everyone’s attention, Rhonda. I know some readers in Canada have been frustrated by not being able to find it on their Amazon.

  4. Hey Dr. Burgo,
    Still waiting on your book. Will register when I get it. It does seem like lots of work for you and I’m wondering if you would be open some small donations to compensate you. It does sound a bit like a group with you having interactions and giving us the benefit of your expertise. It wouldn’t have to be mandatory but it would be nice to give a little back besides initially buying the book.

    1. Bless your heart! I’ve been fairly disappointed by how few of my regular readers have bought the book that to hear someone suggest doing MORE than simply buying it is refreshing! Thanks so much. If anyone does feel that they’d like to do more, buying a less-expensive Kindle version of the book or giving a print version as a gift would help me the most. Unfortunately, it’s all about the sales numbers.

      1. Will do! The holidays are upon us, and although giving your friends and families a book about their defenses may be a little weird…on the other hand, it could be really interesting….

        1. I was wondering about donations as well, because I’ve got a lot of useful things to think about as a result of just one day reading your blog for the first time – some good laughs as well, mainly at my own reactions to things!

          I like to be able to repay a gift with a gift where possible, and money rocks as a concrete expression of appreciation! (Said the actress to the bishop…)

          But noted about buying copies as gifts, I have at least one friend who I think would love to read about this and she’s not online that much so probably wouldn’t come across the book herself.

          1. Thank you, Rachel. Passing the book along to someone who might not otherwise find it is much more valuable to me than a donation.

  5. I feel the same sentiments as KT. I could sense your disappointment in your recent posts. With my order taking so long I will now order your book for my choosen friends as Christmas presents. It is the least I can do considering the the vast wealth of knowledge and expertise you have given to me since July. My Best Regards, Rose Marie

    1. Yes, it has been disappointing that more of the people who visit regularly haven’t bought the book. Thanks so much for doing so, Rose Marie.

  6. Can not help but think about your chapter on Splitting with all of the political commentary today. I love the way you have organized your book beginning with a series of questions to capture the reader’s attention. It works! Then, the reader is engaged as you describe defense mechanisms in action and what we can do about them. Your writing is superb! As a therapist, I believe my clients can easily follow the psychodynamic theory because you have described it in relatable examples. Great job! I am going to suggest your book to a few professors to share with their students.

    1. Paige, thanks so much for this comment. I’m glad you singled out the chapter on splitting. I think it’s the part of the book I’m most proud of, because I was able to connect to my own satisfaction the kind of black-and-white thinking that simplifies complexity and the splitting that simplifies emotional ambivalence. I will cherish this praise of yours for a long time to come.

  7. Hi Joseph,

    I just wanted to let you know that I ordered your book today – but it wasn’t a decision that I took lightly. I am a single, unemployed mom whose unemployment was cut in half three days ago – and will be discontinued in two months. I need to be incredibly mindful of every penny as I wade my way through this rocky terrain in order to keep a roof over my daughter’s head until I gain full time employment.

    I write to you not to elicit sympathy or even empathy…but rather to allow you to get a glimpse into how much I value your blog and your writing. I am navigating through a lifetime of destruction in therapy, and we haven’t even begun to touch on the topic of shame. I struggle with being open and tend to shut down so easily, my defense mechanisms always at work. With as much as I’ve gained by reading your blog, I have no doubt that your book will be a tremendous asset for me.

    Thank you for providing an outlet for those of us with interest in greater understanding and healing. Your willingness to be open and share of yourself in this way is invaluable to me, and I am incredibly grateful. I look forward to receiving your book and participating on the forum!

    1. Your comment has given back more than you know. The fact that you bought my book in spite of the obvious financial sacrifice shows so much appreciation and genuine gratitude. Thank you. And thank you for letting me know Some other people have ordered the book but don’t have it yet and want to get started in the forum. If you’re in that position, send me an email and I’ll send you back a pdf of the Introduction and first chapter.

  8. I purchased the book last week, but post from the USA to Australia is often slow, taking up to four weeks. It’s a long way. Looking forward to receiving it and delving in.

    1. Check out my latest post — at the bottom, there’s a link to the Introduction and first chapter — you can read them now while you’re waiting for the book to arrive. Thanks!

  9. I’m so excited about the discussion group! I’m currently about three chapters into the book, so not bad timing. I felt enthusiastic about reading and working through it from the beginning, and I think an online discussion group for readers has a lot of potential for enhancing that process. Just emailed my therapist and asked her “permission” to join. She’s Rogerian so I think she’ll say yes. 😉 (I wanted a depth psychologist but couldn’t find one in my area, however my current therapist has been very helpful.)

    1. I’m excited about it, too. Not only is it good for the readers, but so often a writer finishes a book and off it goes into the world, leading an independent life. This way, I get to be involved with people as they read it. Very rewarding!

  10. Hi, I am just reading this today, 2/12/14, so this discussion group was first suggested a couple of years ago now. Is this an ongoing thing, or is there one going on now, or set for the near future. I have spoken with you in the past, Dr. Burgo; and felt a very good connection with you. I am unable to pay for therapy with you, so when I saw this, I thought it sounded like the next best thing. A book is great, but sometimes its hard to stay motivated and follow through with the exercises, so having people to talk with and be accountable to would be of great help. If you are still even reading here, let me know!
    Sincerely, Ellen

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