Joanna Cates

Clinical psychologist

Joanna is a clinical psychologist and fascinated by meaning - what it is and how we find it.

She is interested from both a professional and a personal perspective. Whilst working in NHS mental health services she found a large proportion of patients referred to the service with symptoms of anxiety and depression were actually suffering from an acute sense of meaninglessness in their lives.

As a curious human being, she is interested from a personal perspective too and believes that the most important question that any of us will have to answer is, what is the meaning of my life?

For more from Joanna follow her blog at
Five Ideas From Buddhism That Everyone Should Know

Five Ideas From Buddhism That Everyone Should Know About

Buddhism is variously described as a spiritual tradition, a religion and a philosophy. Now I can't possibly do justice to the ancient wisdom of Buddhism in a short post like this. And I in no way want to distort or dilute these ideas. But as a psychologist I have been astounded at the psychological insight that is to be found in Buddhist teachings.
09/03/2017 16:52 GMT
A Thank You Letter To All Teachers

A Thank You Letter To All Teachers Everywhere!

I can't get you better pay or more invaluable hours of support from a teaching assistant. I can't even help with the mountains of paperwork under which you are surely drowning - sorry! But I can show my gratitude - to you and to all teachers, and teaching assistants, who give so much to the children they teach.
04/12/2016 17:07 GMT
What Do You Value in

What Do You Value in Life?

His values in the long term turned out to be incredibly important - not just for him as an individual but for society as a whole. The transgression of this value on a global scale had possibly played a significant role in triggering one of the worst financial crises of the last century.
17/09/2015 12:52 BST
Intentional Solitude - The Importance of (Sometimes) Being

Intentional Solitude - The Importance of (Sometimes) Being Alone

To be able to be with ourselves, and just ourselves, is very important. This means not only time out from interaction with others, but also from interaction with the multiple forms of technology and social media that many of us succumb to on a daily, even hourly, basis.
01/09/2015 10:16 BST
Fabulous Fathers'

Fabulous Fathers' Day!

Even a generation ago fathers were relatively absent from the home. Women of my mother's generation look at me wistfully when my husband sits down at the table and invents a game to encourage our three year old to finish her fish fingers, or tells me he's taking our five year old swimming.
17/06/2015 10:27 BST
The Statistical Miraculousness of

The Statistical Miraculousness of Being

It's seems to me to be part of human nature to at some stage question the point of one's life, and even whether or not it is worth living. If and when this time comes for you, there is something I want you to think about.
01/05/2015 11:22 BST
The Meaning of

The Meaning of Meaning

Having a clear idea of one's values and ideals is possibly connected with this sort of meaning, as is having a role where one feels valued. It might also be to do with setting and achieving life goals, or even simply feeling that one's life makes sense and that it has coherence.
03/02/2015 11:46 GMT
The Meaninglessness Epidemic - a 21st Century

The Meaninglessness Epidemic - a 21st Century Disease?

There are a number of other features of our modern world that seem to have contributed to this, not least in that we live increasingly isolated lives. The generations have been separated and families spread out as our society becomes increasingly mobile.
28/01/2015 11:37 GMT