As a clinical psychologist, I am regularly confronted with the brutal truth that we all lie. I am not talking about deliberate, bold-faced lying. No, this type of dishonesty is far harder to detect and admit. It is the kind of lying that comes from not being psychologically strong enough to be honest with ourselves about who we are. And I believe that it is our biggest obstacle to living a fulfilling life.
I wrote this book for anyone interested in becoming more honest. In it, I present a range of self-deceptive examples couched in psychological theory to help us explore ourselves. Although it is a relatively short book, indented to be read in about an hour, I hope that the content provokes deep thought. For when we are honest about who we really are, we have the opportunity to change.
As the child of two college professors, Cortney was raised in an academic environment. In addition to attaining a formal education in the classroom, she traveled extensively getting a “real-world” education. Before the age of twenty, Cortney had lived in Australia and Argentina and traveled throughout Central America, South America, Russia, Scandinavia, and Western Europe. Exposed to a diversity of cultures and lifestyles from an early age, she was intrigued by the ways cultural and environmental conditions affected the psychological well-being of individuals, groups, and even entire societies.
Her interest in psychology and issues of cultural diversity took academic shape as an undergraduate at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Under the exceptional mentorship of Drs. Jaine Strauss (Macalester College) and Nancy C. Raymond (University of Minnesota), Cortney developed a strong interest in the cultural components of eating disorders, and undertook supporting research and clinical activities.
After graduating magna cum laude from Macalester, Cortney entered the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Texas A&M University to work under the mentorship of Drs. David H. Gleaves and Antonio Cepeda-Benito, who specialize in cross-cultural and linguistic issues in the assessment and treatment of eating disorders. From there, she completed her predoctoral clinical internship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School and joined the faculty at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 2006.
Through her formal and informal learning experiences, Cortney saw the ways in which we lie to ourselves on a daily basis and the danger that it posed to our emotional well-being. Helping people understand themselves and see their own self-deception became a fundamental part of her clinical practice, research, teaching, and personal way of life.
Although Cortney received tenure at UNLV in 2012, she formally retired from academia in 2014 to pursue a career that would allow her more time with her family and more interaction with the general public. As Cortney moves into a new phase of her career, she hopes to use psychological research and clinical observations to help the public live more fulfilling lives by confronting their self-deception. In addition to doing this generally, Cortney plans to address how self-deception contributes to unhealthy eating behavior and negative body image.