Arts and Entertainment

The Orange Prize winner Suzanne Berne is on familiar ground with her fifth novel examining life in an affluent American village. Littlefield, Massachusetts, is named one of the 10 best places to live in America. Curiously, it also houses an unusually high number of psychotherapists. Clarice Watkins, a sociologist from the University of Chicago, decides to study Littlefield to find out exactly what makes it such a good place to live. She arrives to find a town at war, split between those who want their dogs to be off the leash in the local park and those who object. Opinions become more polarised when someone starts poisoning dogs and an undercurrent of fear pulses through the community.

Psilocybin, which is found in magic mushrooms, could help those for
whom antidepressants don't work

Could magic mushrooms help the fight against depression?

Magic mushrooms could one day be prescribed for depression after Professor David Nutt, the controversial sacked government drugs advisor, claimed research on healthy volunteers proved what a mistake it was to abandon therapeutic psychedelic drugs more than 50 years ago.

Dreams turn to reality for surrealist film director

The Czech film director, Jan Svankmajer discusses a troubled childhood and the inspiration for his new film.

Worrall Thompson was using a self-service checkout at Tesco

Philip Hodson: Teenage antics have all the hallmarks of a cry for help

The first thought, when someone is apprehended doing something of this fashion, is a straightforward and practical one. Is the person hard up? Sometimes people can't even admit to themselves that the bank balance is very low. Remember Occam's Razor – let's go for the simplest explanation to fit the facts.

Richter in 2002

Dr Horst-Eberhard Richter: Peace activist and psychoanalyst

Horst-Eberhard Richter was a pscyhoanalyst best known for his study of what he called the "god complex".

Kane says: 'Inside this self-doubting shell, there's this little narcissistic monster.'

Russell Kane: 'I use nasty remarks on Twitter as heckle-putdown practice'

I took up comedy as a dare Six years ago, I was a dilettante knocking out advertising copy, and one of the guys in the agency said, "You're funny, why don't you try stand-up?" I'd never thought about stand-up before, it played no part in my life, but I found a comedy club round the corner, phoned and went and did a spot two weeks later. Little did I know that inside this self-doubting shell, there's this little narcissistic monster.

Can a parenting course bring peace to your home?

Vicious rivalry between her young sons was starting to get Heidi Scrimgeour down. So she signed up for a course that draws on ideas fromneuroscience, epigenetics and psychology...

Matthew Norman on Monday: Maybe it's time for the Murdochs to get some family psychotherapy

What is needed at this point in the saga, I can't help feeling, is neither a select committee nor a judicial inquiry, but family psychotherapy on an industrial scale. Take Liz Murdoch. If Liz's volcanic rage at being the biological daughter less loved by Daddy than the adopted sister with the Medusa tresses erupted with "Rebekah fucked the company", we must look to the distant past for the genesis of her filial anguish. I make no apology for repeating the anecdote, which is not only the most revealing snapshot of Rupert's soul, but may help us understand Liz's daughterly angst.

At Last, By Edward St Aubyn

The fifth and final part of Patrick's story is set on the day of his mother's cremation and, as ever, is a beguiling blend of wit, intellect and compassion

Boarding is as damaging as being taken into care, says therapist

Children sent away to boarding school can suffer psychological damage akin to being taken into care, a leading psychotherapist warns. "Boarding School Syndrome" can leave adults struggling to form intimate relationships and unable to communicate emotions after being traumatised by forced separation from friends and family at a young age.

Art therapy for offenders helps them to 'heal'

Creative expression can help prisoners' emotions surface in a safe way

Former ITV chief swaps boardroom for consulting couch

Few would disagree that Michael Green knows something of the drama of human existence. He was ousted as chairman of the newly-merged ITV in 2003 in one of the bloodiest shareholder revolts that the City had witnessed in decades.

Jeremy Laurance: Forget Spooner, this was all about Freud

Linguistics boffins might insist James Naughtie's verbal slip was a spoonerism that occurred thanks to the easy exchange of the C for Culture with the H for Hunt. But analyse any conversation and you will find a dozen similar possibilities. Why did Naughtie make precisely this slip at this moment to cause himself and the nation maximum embarrassment (or hilarity, depending on your sensitivity)?

Terence Blacker: Divorced, and back on the couch

The co-author of Families and How to Survive Them has embarked upon his Alimony Tour. One of the comic themes of this travelling one-man show derives from his divorce from his third wife Alyce, and the expensive settlement which followed. It could have been worse, one gag goes. "Imagine how much I'd have had to pay Alyce if she had contributed anything to the relationship – such as children or conversation."

The lampshade that drives its owners mad: Strange truth behind 20th century's most disturbing object

Looted from an abandoned house, sold as junk for $35 – and finally mailed to the American author Mark Jacobson by a man who couldn't wait to get rid of it. It is the lampshade that drives its owners mad – but what is its macabre secret? Robert Chalmers investigates
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Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'