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New Existentialists

Live Like You Were Dyin'

10/23/2014
Live Like You Were Dyin'
Less than a week ago, I walked beside the hospital bed as my seven-year-old son was wheeled down the hallway to the procedure room where he would spend the next few hours. There, a catheter tube inserted through an artery in his leg would enter his heart and small pieces of tissue would be taken to test—this procedure is called a cardiac biopsy. This last one was the eighth time he’s had this procedure and it is still a harrowing experience, made worse now as he understands what is happening and can voice his fears. Just before he fell under the anesthesia, he said “I’...

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Rethinking Complexity

Keeping Team Members Engaged in a Distributed Workplace: Initial Thoughts for Discussion

10/22/2014
Keeping Team Members Engaged in a Distributed Workplace:  Initial Thoughts for Discussion
Organizations are a buzz with collaborative strategies. Increasingly, work environments are focusing on being team-oriented and enabling employees to establish and be engaged in organizational networks. While progress is being made, the picture is not totally rosy. It is not uncommon for members to find it difficult to stay engaged, to fully participate in an on-going manner.  Why is this occurring? There are many potential causes to investigate but the one I want to reflect upon is the notion that competing interests and responsibilities create the need to prioritize. Such a dynamic...

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New Existentialists

Bare: Psychotherapy Stripped: Shedding Light on the Shadow Sides of Therapy

10/22/2014
Bare: Psychotherapy Stripped: Shedding Light on the Shadow Sides of Therapy
In the modern age, it is hard to move paper without ample doses of sex and violence. This is a world in which 50 Shades of Grey is a best-selling series—bad writing by most accounts but sufficiently titillating without being too frightening. In A Dance of Dragons, George R. R. Martin has one of his characters say it might not be possible for her to make her people good, but she might at least be able to make them better. I think George is chiding us, his gentle readers. This is the fifth book in a very long series notable mostly for gratuitous sex, sexualization of and violence towards...

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New Existentialists

Integration: Searching for a Place in the Culture to Call Home

10/21/2014
Integration: Searching for a Place in the Culture to Call Home
It was said we were in a “post-racial era” after President Obama was elected … just like it was said we were reaching a “post-racial era” when Bill Clinton was “Americas first black president.” Remember that? Seems awfully embarrassing in hindsight. It is one of the most confounding aspects of Americans society that we have made so many of these obviously wrong proclamations. We make such progress, we take such large steps, yet the problems of race and integration only seem to get muddier. The new movie Dear White People is a comedic demonstration of...

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New Existentialists

From Basic Human Tendencies to Personal Myth

10/20/2014
From Basic Human Tendencies to Personal Myth
Charlotte Bühler’s Theory of Development Charlotte Bühler, a pioneer in women’s adolescent psychology, emphasized the distinctions between humanistic psychology and the Freudian science that had dominated the discipline earlier in her career. She pointed out that development is synonymous with health and self-realization rather than the endpoint of homeostasis (Bühler & Allen, 1972; Bühler & Marschak, 1968). Bühler (1968) believed that the person is never in complete balance; and this partial or total imbalance is the impetus for development, the...

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New Existentialists

Existential Roundup

10/17/2014
Existential Roundup
Welcome to the Existential Roundup, where we bring you links to some articles currently trending that may be of interest to those in the existential-humanistic psychology community. Lately, while dealing with a period of high stress, I have found cookies—specifically those with Dulce de Leche chips—a huge source of comfort. Thus, Cookie Monster’s picture on the Pacific Standard’s website caught my eye. As I started to peruse the article,  I discovered first that Sesame Street is celebrating the beginning of its 44th season on television. What a wonderful...

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New Existentialists

Emotional Conversion

10/16/2014
Emotional Conversion
Maurice Merleau-Ponty tells us that we are Beings-in-the-World through our bodies—that it is through our sensations, perceptions, and kinesthetic senses that we can know and relate to our Self and to others. This concept is intrinsic to understanding existential psychotherapy as a mind-body practice and appreciating that relationship has to happen on both levels. It is in this light that I found the story of a group of Pakistani women all hospitalized in Peshawar so fascinating. The Atlantic reported that the 16-bed psych ward at the Lady Reading Hospital has been consistently operating...

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New Existentialists

Freedom?

10/15/2014
Freedom?
Rollo May asks this question: what is freedom? Freedom and Destiny is the answer at length, more like a dozen answers. It boils down to two things: what do you mean by freedom? And that which both opposes and enables destiny, its synonym and opposite. Lately, I have given up atheism as an identifier. It is not that I have turned towards belief, found a faith; it is not that I have turned away from unbelief. Rather, I have discovered within my self and my environment that there is no god to not believe in. Maybe that seems puerile to you, or like gibberish, or like puerile gibberish. Fair...

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New Existentialists

I Can't Do Math...or Can I?

10/14/2014
I Can't Do Math...or Can I?
Math is not my subject. In high school, my average in math was lowest, although surprisingly, my highest average was in the sciences. I “got” physics, in spite of the math, because there, the math made sense. In the abstract, it sent my brain reeling. More than once, my mother had to call my math teachers to say that I was too sick with anxiety even to come into to school to take a regular unit test. Not even a midterm or final. Just a plain old test. And I made myself sick over it. Flash forward however many years later, and now I have students tell me all the time, “I...

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New Existentialists

The Alluring Power of the Milgram Experiments, 50 Years Later

10/13/2014
The Alluring Power of the Milgram Experiments, 50 Years Later
The infamous Milgram experiments in 1960 were loosely based on the experiments in conformity of Stanley Milgram’s mentor, Professor Solomon Asch. Since that time, similar experiments have been performed, and largely validated again and again: most recently in 2005 at Eindhoven University of Technology (this time using a robot instead of a victim); in 2007 at Santa Clara University (virtually no change in compliance with Milgram’s results were found), and in June of this year (finding that “nice” and “agreeable” people are most likely to torture strangers...

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