profile image

Camillo Zacchia, PhD

Clinical Psychologist, conference speaker, columnist

Blog Title: The Ilk of Humankind: Mental health, Human nature, Life
Bio: Dr. Zacchia is a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression and interpersonal problems. He received his PhD from McGill University in 1987. From 1997 to 2011, he was the chief psychologist for the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and chaired their Clinical Ethics Committee for a seven year period. He left that position in 2011 to develop and direct the Mental Health Education Office of the Institute.
He wrote a bi-weekly column in the Montreal edition of Metro from 2005 to 2015 and has maintained a mental health blog since 2007.
Squaredpixels via Getty Images

Preserving Life Or Prolonging Death?

I don't want to die any more than anyone else. And as a psychologist I take suicide prevention very seriously. But when I deal with a suicidal individual it is with the conviction that, if the person can get through this difficult period, a better and more normal life awaits. When someone is facing a degenerative condition there is no returning to normal.
05/24/2017 01:56 EDT
Ryan McVay via Getty Images

Tribalism Remains Mankind's Most Dangerous Instinct

We get so blinded by this tribal zeal that we support anything our side says or does. In sports your guys are always fair and the other guys are always either cheating, playing dirty or whining. We saw this in the last American election. There is no shortage of blinded loyalty to your side and that's the danger of identity politics.
12/21/2016 11:04 EST
PhotoAlto/Sigrid Olsson via Getty Images

You're Not A Loser, And Science Proves It

Social anxiety is a normal human instinct. Being concerned with what others think makes us conform to social groups. This enhances relationships, makes us love and care for children, and ultimately ensures the survival of the species. But the nature and degree of social anxiety evolves and transforms throughout the life cycle. But in high school it takes on a new dimension. It is one that plays out in the heads of others.
09/27/2016 07:32 EDT
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS via Getty Images

What Is Feeding Gun Violence, Racism And Anger

Seeing an innocent member of your 'team' die tragically feeds this sense of 'us and them.' Micah Johnson, the Dallas shooter, did not see fathers, sons or brothers. He only saw white people and cops. This is the same mentality that fuels the atrocities of ISIS. When we see a group instead of an individual we feel justified in killing an innocent member of that group. Trained as a soldier, Johnson only saw 'the enemy.'
07/14/2016 11:54 EDT
Lotus Carroll/Flickr

The Real Reason Kids Can Be So Cruel

The ability to imagine what another person would think or feel is referred to as the theory of mind. It is this that helps us realize that another person's mind is distinct from our own. When six-year olds point out physical flaws they are simply responding to their own curiosity. They have no idea that this might hurt people. To realize the impact of these observations would require the ability to be in someone else's head.
03/03/2016 11:55 EST
Camillo Zacchia

Eulogy To A Janitor, My Father

The true measure of a man is in his heart and his character. The character defined by his generosity of spirit, by what he makes of the lot life hands him, and by the maturity with which he faces adversity and accepts misfortune.
02/08/2016 02:59 EST
KatarzynaBialasiewicz via Getty Images

5 Reasons To Talk About Mental Illness

In mental illness, we are constantly mixing apples and oranges. The causes are not the same and neither are the treatments. When we lump them together we create more confusion. And when there is lack of clarity, we tend to fill the gaps in knowledge with myths, superstitions, and mistaken attributions. That's when the quacks come out.
01/26/2016 04:40 EST
Steve West via Getty Images

I Just Don't Know How To Be Happy

So what is depression? It isn't like a typical disease that can be measured with a lab test. For this reason I think the best way to see depression is as a symptom. It is a mood state characterized by sadness or loss of pleasure. The question is what is creating the symptom?
01/05/2016 10:42 EST
Camillo Zacchia

How Would You Like To Die, Sir?

When I ask clients, friends and family how they would want to die, so far no one has chosen, "I'd like to die after lying in bed for two or three years, in a diaper, and barely aware of my surroundings." Yet isn't this scenario -- or a variant of it -- how a large percentage of us will die?
11/27/2015 12:15 EST