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Rethinking Complexity

Complexity and Grace

04/09/2014
Complexity and Grace
I have been teaching systems thinking as an approach to deal with complexity for many years. Complexity has become a catch word, something that is recognized as a part of modern life, something that should not be ignored or simplified. We have too many examples of reductionist approaches that tried to solve a problem through a technological (quick) fix to only find out that the solution had “side effects” that made the problem worse or created new problems. So acknowledging and even embracing complexity has been, in my opinion, a step in the right direction.  However, there...

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New Existentialists

Nuts to Passover?

04/09/2014
Nuts to Passover?
The Jewish holiday of Passover is arguably the most existential-phenomenological of all the Jewish holidays. In the Haggadah, the book we read at the Passover Seder on the first two nights of the holiday, the text asks us to imagine ourselves as slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt—to put ourselves in the places of our forbearers, to truly try to feel what it feels like to be enslaved, and then to be liberated. Among the many rituals that help cultivate this feeling is the one that prohibits the eating of “leavened” bread—bread that has been allowed to rise. The story behind...

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New Existentialists

Love Is Not Enough

04/08/2014
Love Is Not Enough
We grow up believing that love is all that matters. Countless songs and movies repeating the mantra that “Love is all you need” in all its variations. From the angst of being the first to say, “I love you” in a relationship, to the unbearable pain of unrequited love, or the overwhelming maternal love for our children, we are conditioned to feel that love is the answer to all things despite the pain that goes with it. Love is the panacea to all ills and the foundation of all relationships. Love conquers all things, and as long as we love our parents, siblings, spouses,...

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New Existentialists

Sex in Humanistic Psychology and Psychotherapy

04/07/2014
Sex in Humanistic Psychology and Psychotherapy
“Sex in humanistic psychology and psychotherapy: A community roundtable and discussion” evoked a sense of mystery within myself as I explored the thought of sexual attraction towards clients within the scope of humanistic psychology. Each member of the panel, chaired by Shawn Rubin, and consisting of Louis Hoffman, Heatherlynn Hoffman, Kristopher Lichtanski, and Veronica Valdivia, enthralled me as they approached the topic from various vantage points from heterosexual attractedness, homosexual attractedness, to LGBT/queer-identified attractedness within the therapeutic...

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New Existentialists

Existential Roundup

04/04/2014
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. Since spring is the time of the year associated with awakenings and reawakenings, this roundup will focus on articles and new research that at the very least may widen your eyes. Just in case you did not think philosophers or psychologists could rate on the popularity lists, check out these two lists, one from Prospect Magazine as reported in The Guardian and one from the British Psychological Society Research...

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Rethinking Complexity

Creating Safe Spaces to Turn Challenges into Opportunities

04/03/2014
Creating Safe Spaces to Turn Challenges into Opportunities
Many of today’s complexity-related challenges require leaders to create more space in the workplace for people to share their difficulties and concerns, and explore new ways of addressing them. Whenever we are facing the unknown, doing something we haven’t done before, and unsure how to approach a new challenge or what the outcome might be, we feel vulnerable. This sense of vulnerability often precedes our knowing what we can expect of ourselves, or what is expected of us in our work environments, and can cause undue stress.  I was speaking recently to a healthcare...

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New Existentialists

Embodied Racism

04/03/2014
Embodied Racism
“Racism is located in your body.” I first heard this stated when I was struggling with the realization that someone very important to me was having a difficult time accepting that I was engaged to a Black woman. As I was talking about how painful it was for me that this person, who I knew was a good person with strong character, could not seem to get past their prejudice, it was gently pointed out to me that, “Racism is located in your body. If it was just in one’s mind, it would be easy to overcome and change. But it is not easy, because racism is in our body.”...

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New Existentialists

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month

04/02/2014
April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month
There was a time when I was not aware that April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. That changed when my husband, John, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) five years ago on March 31st—what he wishes had been an early “April Fools” joke but wasn’t. While we did not choose the PD journey, we have learned much about ourselves and from others in the process. The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) describes Parkinson’s disease as “a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time.”...

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New Existentialists

A Fool for April’s Fool’s Day and Opening Day

04/01/2014
A Fool for April’s Fool’s Day and Opening Day
Today is April Fool’s Day. As a kid, I always hated April Fool’s Day because I didn’t to be the butt of the joke for fear of looking gullible or stupid. If I was going to participate in April Fool’s “merriment,” I was going to have to be the prankster, not the pranked. Yesterday was New York Mets Opening Day. What I love most about Opening Day—New York Mets Opening Day especially, since I’m a Mets fan, but it does apply to all teams and really all sports—is that all the slates are clean and the scales are balanced. For a brief moment in...

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Rethinking Complexity

The T-Summit

03/31/2014
The T-Summit
I recently attended a meeting at the Almaden Research Lab near San Jose, CA.  The T-Summit was jointly sponsored by Michigan State University's Collegiate Employment Research Institute and IBM's Global University Programs.  As described in the announcement about the meeting: Employers are placing increasing importance on competencies that allow young professionals to handle information from multiple sources, advance professional relationships across organizations, contribute innovatively to organizational practices, and communicate with...

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