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.

Why we all need some peace and quiet

Modern life is becoming increasingly noisy. But if we learn to to spend time in silence, the effects on our mental wellbeing – and our physical health – can be profound. Gerard Gilbert turns the sound down

Mothers 'more critical of daughters than sons'

It is said all children should be treated equally, but a new survey reveals mothers are more critical of their daughters than their sons.

Hungry Britons eye 'Super Size' meals

Britons find it hard to resist "super sizing" meals to extra large portions, according to a survey published today.

Nature, nurture and pizza: How an innovative farmhouse project is teaching families everyday practical skills

Two dozen people are sitting around a Kent farmhouse table eating lunch – a homely and unremarkable scene. But the anxiety of some of the adults, and the feral eating habits of some of the children, show this is not what it seems. For many of those passing around the plates of fresh pasta and salad this is a rare moment of normality in traumatised lives.

Ecstasy can treat trauma patients

Ecstasy can help the victims of post-traumatic stress overcome their demons, research has shown. In tests, the illegal dance drug had a dramatic effect on previously untreatable patients who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Shrunk, Cock Tavern Theatre, London

Some marriages end as a result of psychotherapy, but do certain psychotherapists wreck certain marriages?

John Cleese plans 'alimony tour' to pay his ex-wife

John Cleese is to embark on his first-ever UK tour next year at the age of 71. The comedian, who recently agreed a divorce settlement believed to be in the region of £12m, has dubbed it the "Alimony Tour".

If you want to be an analyst you must undergo psychoanalysis yourself

Psychoanalysis is the study of the unconscious mind, and if you want to study it, you have to have the courage to investigate your own. All trainee psychoanalysts are required to lie on the stereotypical sofa and undergo an intensive personal analysis for a minimum of three years.

Letters: Gay 'therapy'

Treatment designed to turn gay men straight

'I wanted to burn this disgust out of me'

Evidence of links between fatal fires and mental illness is prompting a new strategy

Pains of Youth, NT Cottesloe, London<br/>If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet, Bush, London<br/>Mrs Klein, Almeida, London

It's been a bumper week for teenage misery,as young doctors in Vienna finding liberation comes at a price and a brilliant new play charts one girl's descent from surliness to despair

Clare Higgins: 'I was a bit of an odd child'

An epiphany at the Royal Shakespeare Company led the award-winning actress first to misbehaviour, and then stardom

Dr Arthur Williams: Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst noted for his work with offenders

Arthur Williams was a noted psychiatrist and psychoanalyst whose pioneering work with offenders, including murderers, influenced generations of forensic clinicians.

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War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

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Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
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The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?