Author: Jade Wu, PhD

Dr. Jade Wu is a licensed clinical psychologist. She received her Ph.D. from Boston University and completed a clinical residency and fellowship at Duke University School of Medicine. Do you have a psychology question? Call the Savvy Psychologist listener line at 919-533-9122. Your question could be featured on the show. 


Dr. Jade Wu offered her wisdom during the last election cycle of 2020, and her tips still hold strong through the 2022 Midterms. Listen to the full episode with the player above and read on for all you need to know to be able to talk politics without losing friends or family. Political disagreements can fray even the closest relationships. To talk about politics without losing friends: Figure out your goal for the relationship. The deeper the relationship, the more worthwhile it is to have meaningful conversations about core values. Be willing to step away from your identification as part…

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Recently, a listener wrote to me and asked about how to cope with being afraid of a loved one dying. This immediately brought me back to one memorable patient I saw, years ago, as part of my training at a cancer center. She was a thirty-something entrepreneur, wife, and mother to three young kids. She was at the center because her husband had just been diagnosed with brain cancer. I tried to put myself in her shoes and could not fathom how she continued to function so well. She was still an attentive mother. She continued to run her business.…

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Recently, I read about a woman’s whirlwind dating experience that started out feeling romantic and ended with her seeking therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. She described feeling infatuated with her handsome, glamorous boyfriend, who entered her life with a larger-than-life charm. But then she started to see another side of him, one that abused alcohol and drugs to the point of needing her to caretake multiple nights per week, one that lied about money, and one that alternated between making aggressive outbursts and pleading apologies. By the end of the relationship, this woman said, she felt emotionally and physically exhausted.…

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We’ve all had our share of relationships we regret. There was the one that went on too long because we were afraid of change. Maybe one where there was a lot of chemistry but it turned out you were on opposite sides of a political issue that was a deal-breaker. Or you clicked well, but they just couldn’t get along with your family. These are common relationship missteps we can chalk up to life’s lemons, and usually there’s not much harm done other than temporarily hurt feelings and a sense of having wasted time. If you find yourself feeling like…

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Lately, for whatever reason, I’ve been hearing a lot about entitled people. Earlier this week, a journalist emailed me and told me they were working on a piece on sleep. They requested detailed answers to a bunch of questions. They didn’t ask whether I had time to answer them, nor did they say “please” or “thank you.” They just expected my answers by the end of the day. The next day, I heard from a coworker she’d waited three hours for a client who stood her up. This was after the client had demanded to meet in person, even though…

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Sarcasm is like jazz—it’s hard to define, but you know it when you hear it. That’s because sarcasm, which is used to convey the opposite of the literal words spoken, is primarily communicated by a person’s tone of voice. You can tell by a speaker’s tone that “Well, that’s exactly what I need right now” means “I sure wish this wasn’t happening.” Sarcasm can be used to compliment: “You ran a marathon and went to night school? Slacker.” Or to make a good-natured tease: “Would you like some ice cream with your sprinkles?” It can be self-deprecating: “It’s a complete…

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Have you ever sat in a classroom or work meeting and felt small, like you didn’t belong there, as you listened to other people make seemingly smarter comments than you can think of? Have you ever cringed at your own reflection in the mirror, seeing a body that’s nothing like the ones you see in magazines? Or have you doubted your own sanity when you thought you were awesome but discovered that someone else seemed to think you didn’t measure up? Each of us has someone in our life who makes us feel as invalid as an expired password. Sometimes…

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Like gluten or ozone, dissociation is one of those things everyone has heard of, but few can really define. This week, we’ll talk about what dissociation is, how it develops, and three ways to counter it if you recognize it as a problem in your life. What is dissociation? Dissociation is detachment, whether from your body, your emotions, or your surroundings. In short, dissociation is the opposite of being present in the here and now. Everybody dissociates at least sometimes. Think about all the times you’ve had to read a page over because your mind was elsewhere, or you pulled…

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“That never happened; you must be imagining it.” “Everyone agrees with me—you’re overreacting.” “Wow, what’s it like to be insane?” If these comments sound like a familiar refrain, you may have been the target of gaslighting, a term blowing up like, well, a lighter thrown into a puddle of gas. Gaslighting, a form of emotional abuse, dominates the headlines, is all over Twitter, and has been thrown around by everyone from pundits to columnists to late-night comics. But what is gaslighting? And even more importantly, how should you respond to gaslighting behavior? What is gaslighting? The term “gaslighting” comes from…

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This episode is part three of a three-part series on attachment styles. The first describes the four attachment styles. The second describes four critical ways your attachment style affects your relationships. Before we talk about how to overcome insecure attachment, let’s have a little refresher on attachment styles. They’re patterns of how we think, feel, and act in close relationships. They form early in life based on the way we bond (or don’t) with our primary caregivers. The four attachment styles are: Secure: trusting, independent but close, and open to expressing affection in confident ways with their partners. Dismissive-avoidant: aloof,…

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