Buy my book: “Shit Happens”

Cover of book with the words "Shit Happens" in orange on a grey background

Released August the 10th click here for where you can buy your copy…

Have you ever wondered why you react the way you do to stressful situations? Or why some people seem to fall apart while others become controlling?

We are all shaped by our childhood and our life experiences— good or bad. We can’t control the sh*t life throws at us, but we can learn to control how we respond to it.

Even if you feel things have gone well for you, there’s still grief, breakups, and accidents — not to mention global pandemics — to navigate. The limited nature of life, and the fact we all stare down death — at one time or another — means no one finds this being alive business a walk in the park.

In Sh*t Happens highly regarded psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald explains the concepts he uses in his practice that will help you understand the behaviour patterns you (or your loved ones) fall into — especially under stressful circumstances.

“This isn’t really a “self-help” book,” Kyle explains. “From the point of view of therapy ‘self-help’ is an anathema. We only get so far on our own before we need someone else. In life ‘shit’ unavoidably happens. It is then up to us what we make of it. All of us have habits, built up over many years, of what we do with the ‘shit’.”

Kyle hopes readers will instead think of the book as a map.

“It contains a smorgasbord of helpful things I’ve learnt along the way. Hopefully, this map that I unfurl in front of you will show you some things that people learn in therapy, and then help you be more selective in the ways you approach your emotional world.

Regardless of the responses you may have developed to this point, you are not locked into these behaviours – your past doesn’t have to dictate your future. Drawing on over twenty years of clinical experience, Kyle outlines the key concepts, and how you can use the theories of psychotherapy to change your life for the better.

Each chapter discusses problems that people experience as they traverse life’s ups and downs: from childhood to relationships to parenting. It also touches on some of the more recent phenomena, including our responses to the pandemic and the increasing political polarisation, particularly in the online space.

And Kyle does it in a readable, accessible and at times humorous way.

Here is an overview of the topics covered in the book:

Chapter 1: Are we all a bit mad?
Chapter 2: Surviving childhood and parenting
Chapter 3: Trauma in childhood: Bad things do happen Chapter 4: Depression and low mood
Chapter 5: Mindfulness and the benefits of quieting the mind Chapter 6: How to calm our emotions
Chapter 7: How to care (but still look after yourself)
Chapter 8: Exploring love — and hate
Chapter 9: How to find yourself — and know where to look Chapter 10: Are we getting angrier?
Chapter 11: If life has a meaning — what is it?
Chapter 12: Bringing it all together
Chapter 13: What next? How to put it into practice

To arrange an interview or request an extract or review copy, please contact:

Gemma Finlay, Notable PR
Phone: 027 628 9695 Email:

The Project: Parenting Profanity

Kyle MacDonald: Psychotherapist

TVNZ Breakfast: Is lockdown making us Introverts?

TVNZ Interview Kyle MacDonald

The Project: Levelling the Blame

The Project Levelling the Blame

Appreciated talking to The Project NZ about how to manage anger and the urge to become a “curtain-twitcher.”

Also appreciated the excuse to put a nice shirt on…

The pandemic and our collective grief

The pandemic and our collective grief

This column was published in the NZ Herald on 30th September, 2021

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and as a result you’ll probably be inundated with well-meaning – and largely helpful – ideas about all the feel good things you can do to increase your mental wellbeing.

But Mental Health Awareness Week should be more than an opportunity for online influencers to bust out some new wellbeing memes on Instagram.

Mental health and resilience is always a balance between doing things that make us feel good – and staring reality in the face. This can be hard when the reality we are looking at is not what we want to see.

Psychotherapy is a search for the truth – regardless of how painful – because so many of us are in emotional trouble due to the convoluted ways we try to avoid the truth.

This last week has seen a fresh flurry of opinion pieces demanding certainty, screaming for a clear date when we can travel, when our people overseas can come home, when we can “go back to normal”.

Or claiming that our Government is “using fear” to manage the pandemic response and breathlessly drawing parallels with North Korea.

The truth is Covid really sucks at a scale we’ve never seen before. It sucks at a global scale.

We’re in the grip of a pandemic, an event most likely to be remembered as the worst years of many of our lives. Our children will recall it for the rest of their years, and in terms of historic events the pandemic is likely the defining feature of the first half of the twenty-first century, like the World Wars were for the twentieth century.

And coiled around the anger, the demands for certainty and the never-ending demands that we just move on and “live with the virus” is a collective denial of the overwhelming grief we must all face into.

Grief for many aspects of life that are gone.

The freedom to travel anywhere in the world at a moments notice. The ability to make plans for next week, next month or next year with confidence. The privilege to know the future is a safe and predictable thing we can rely on.

Big and small we are all losing the future we thought we had, and it hurts, and angry denial is understandable. But left unchecked that denial kills, through not adjusting and doing what is required to protect us all from what is a terrible, at times overwhelmingly terrifying invisible virus.

In bringing our attention to this through modelling, science and an openness about the thinking they’re using to plan, our Government isn’t ruling with fear.

It’s governing using reality.

So this Mental Health Awareness Week by all means find reasons to be grateful, or connect with nature, or whatever makes you feel good really.

But also make some time to be aware of the grief, just don’t do it alone. Because the silver lining of this grief is that it is a collective grief. We are all in this together – no matter how shitty it gets.

And ultimately our together-ness gets us through, and gives us the strength to face down the grief together, and ultimately adjust, change and embrace a new future we haven’t yet met.

Click here to see the original article on the NZ Herald site…

NZ Herald Mind Matters Column

NZ Herald Mind Matters Column

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2021. I wanted to take the time to thank all the readers of my blog “Off the Couch over the years – I really appreciate it.

This year I’m writing a new “Ask the Therapist” column for the NZ Herald called “Mind Matters”. I’ll be answering YOUR questions, and the column is in every Herald on Sunday print edition, and the online “Premium” Herald. So yes, it is behind a pay wall but hey – journalists (and columnists) deserve to get paid too!

Click here to see all my columns for the NZ Herald… and email me if you have a question you’d like me to answer via:

Because they’re behind a paywall I can’t post them there – so get yourself a Herald subscription, buy a paper or nip down to your local cafe and read theirs!

The Nutters Club is also back for 2021, every Sunday from 11pm on NewstalkZB (thank you NZ on Air). And in an effort to simplify my life (call it a New Year’s resolution) I won’t be posting them here. But you can always listen live, or to listen afterwards on demand click here…

I also post the links to the show each week to my Facebook Page click here to like the page…

And I’ll still be posting updates, along with other projects, interviews etc. here as they happen.

Have a great 2021 and take care of each other.

The Nutters Club: Gratitude amongst the challenges of 2020

Gratitude in 2020

On the 20th of December Hamish Coleman-Ross and I hosted the NewstalkZB show “The Nutters Club.”

We  talked about how 2020 has been tough for many, and took calls on the things we were grateful for in a generally tumultuous year.

It was our last show of the year, but we’ll be back again in 2021 from Sunday the 24th of January. With thanks to NZ on Air.

To listen to the audio of the show, it’s in two parts, click the links below…

Click here for The Nutters Club: Sunday 20/12/20 Part 1…

Click here for The Nutters Club: Sunday 20/12/20 Part 2…

Christmas and Mental Health

On the 13th of December Hamish Coleman-Ross and I hosted the NewstalkZB show “The Nutters Club.”

We asked what does Christmas mean to you? Does it have any meaning to you? Has COVID changed Christmas for you, with loved ones spread around the globe less able to be together this year? How can you approach Christmas in a way that’s good for your mental health?

With thanks to NZ on Air.

To listen to the audio of the show, it’s in two parts, click the links below…

Click here for The Nutters Club: Sunday 13/12/20 Part 1…

Click here for The Nutters Club: Sunday 13/12/20 Part 2…