Freud's Bar - Escape from Reality / Wrecked by Success - 6 April 2016, Oakland

People who are “Wrecked by success” or become “Criminals from a sense of guilt” can be found everywhere, from the corrupt executive in boardroom to the procrastinating student in the classroom. One of Freud’s most significant contributions to the study of the mind was his appreciation for the contradictions in human behavior. Seemingly irrational behavior can be understood as complicated feelings about the self, resolved in complicated ways.

Many people seen in treatment engage in reckless and self-destructive behavior. Shoplifting, affairs, plagiarism, procrastination and some criminal activity can sometimes be a way to avoid success or to destroy the success already achieved. Some people feel like frauds and imposters, undeserving of what they have or achieve. These are people who are “Wrecked by success” or become “Criminals from a sense of guilt.”

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Michael B. Donner, PhD, is a psychoanalyst and clinical and forensic psychologist in Oakland, California. He is the President of the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis and the moderator of the SFCP East Bay Clinical Forum.

Dr. Donner is the Past-Chair of the California Psychological Association (CPA) Division of Clinical and Professional Practice and Section on Psychoanalytic and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. He served for six years and is the immediate past Chair of the CPA Ethics Committee and Ethics and served for 10 years as the Chair of the Professional Affairs Committee of the Alameda County Psychological Association.

Dr. Donner teaches, publishes and consults on Legal and ethical issues for Mental Health Professionals and on matters relating to Child Custody Evaluations to Family Law Professionals. He has served as a court appointed Special Master, Chemical Dependency Evaluator, a Child Custody Evaluator, and as an expert witness for matters before the California Board of Behavioral Sciences and Board of Psychology.
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