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Mind-Body Medicine

College of Mind-Body Medicine Faculty Member Pursues Optimal Performance: Heather Dermyer, Ph.D.

05/15/2012
 
Imagine working full-time as a Clinical Psychologist, teaching Ethics for Saybrook University’s College of Mind-Body Medicine, and working at the United States Olympic Education Center (USOEC) with Olympic hopeful athletes on the Speed-skating, Weightlifting, Women’s Freestyle Wrestling, and Men’s Greco Roman Wrestling Teams.  Heather Dermyer rarely has a day off, yet she enjoys every minute of her busy and productive life. 
 
In addition to living a dynamic professional life, Heather is also dedicated to her own self-care.  At age 17 Heather suffered severe physical injuries from an accident that left her unable to walk.  After four and one half years of specialists, procedures, and physical therapy, the medical community told her there was nothing else that they could do for her pain. 

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New Existentialists

A Love Thing

05/14/2012
A Love Thing
It is one of those 4 A.M. nights and my “blog” time is up, so I might as well go with what is upon me. After all, isn’t a blog really just a diary gone public; everyone putting their two cents in for all the world to see? Just the word “blog,” can make me cringe, and I did resist this whole idea at first. Now, each time the month rolls around, I kick and procrastinate until I finally surrender. But in the end, I find that I learn something, however small, about myself and myself in life, and somehow I feel larger for it. I guess it’s Ronald Coleman who started the slide tonight. Or was it...

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Rethinking Complexity

Hope: Music of Kinshasa and the Cleveland National Forest

05/14/2012
Hope: Music of Kinshasa and the Cleveland National Forest
As I watched a rolling, twisting web of clouds press its way westward out of Southern California’s Imperial Valley towards where I stood in the San Diego foothills, I felt the rolling drumbeat in the thunder. It was there, just thrumming out over the Cleveland National Forest. Nearly regular in its faint booming, the thunder conjured memories of symphonic performances—powerful; towering; inspiring. As it moved closer even still, the winds evolved into strong breezes and added into the symphony the rasping growl of snares. What we call bad weather in Southern California is also...

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Rethinking Complexity

The Need for Organizational Learning is Now

05/11/2012
The Need for Organizational Learning is Now
In Kathia Laszlo’s May 2nd post, she spoke to the critical need to rethink and expand boundaries within a system to support different ways of working and learning together. The need to create organizational cultures where learning together is the norm has never been so important as it is during this time of increasing complexity and change. The major news story this week is JPMorgan Chase admitting big losses on egregious credit trades. The $2 billion loss was unexpected and CEO Jamie Dimon is now challenged to explain the result of the bank’s action in light of his stance on...

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New Existentialists

Defining Mental Disorder, DSM-5 Style

05/11/2012
Defining Mental Disorder, DSM-5 Style
What is a mental disorder? This is a question the American Psychiatric Association (2012) has been contemplating as it prepares the DSM-5, the soon-to-be-published revision of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The DSM-5 development website proposes the following new definition of mental disorder (APA, 2012): A. A behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual B. That reflects an underlying psychobiological dysfunction C. The consequences of which are clinically significant distress (e.g., a painful symptom) or disability (i.e.,...

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New Existentialists

Riding a Harley-Davidson—A “Vehicle” to Existential Joy?

05/10/2012
Riding a Harley-Davidson—A “Vehicle” to Existential Joy?
What relationship does the experience of riding Harley Davidson-Motorcycles have to existentialism? A first response may be “Nothing!” Riding a Harley is a leisure activity—it is not related to existentialist philosophy or psychology at all. Because I have conducted extensive research on the meaning of riding a Harley for those who own them, I wondered if there were any elements of the Harley Phenomenon that related to New Existentialism. Then I read Makenna Berry’s April 25th blog, “Considering Existential Joy”. Now Makenna may not have had the experience of riding a Harley in mind when...

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Rethinking Complexity

The Polarizing Effects of Avoiding Uncertainty

05/10/2012
The Polarizing Effects of Avoiding Uncertainty
The other day, National Public Radio published a story about partisan politics. According to insights offered by Dartmouth College political scientist Brendan Nyhan in the story, partisans tend to be partial to their political loyalties on a range of issues, side-stepping the facts. When remaining loyal requires them to change their views of the facts, "partisans seem willing to throw even consistency overboard," the article stated. Nyham and his colleagues are conducting research into the phenomena of partisans’ apparent willingness to ignore facts. They hypothesize that the...

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New Existentialists

Film as Means for Integrating Opposites: A Review of David Lynch’s "The Elephant Man"

05/09/2012
Film as Means for Integrating Opposites: A Review of David Lynch’s "The Elephant Man"
The gifts of cinema is a holistic experience like no other art form. It engages every sense but smell and taste (unless you count when John Water’s “Polyester” was being screened. Scratch and sniff cards were handed out at the theaters, like 3-D glasses, and not all of the scents were as pleasant as the classroom childhood relics flavored with bubble gum and chocolate mint). Regardless, cinema even moves beyond engagement of multiple senses, suspending our belief and dissolving the barriers between story and self. The critically acclaimed Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (1987)...

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New Existentialists

Better treatment for trauma victims

05/08/2012
Better treatment for trauma victims
Much of what we commonly think of as psychotherapy has come to be dominated by what we might call the toxicity of everyday life.   People are stressed and upset and depressed not because they have suffered some terrible trauma, but because they are not finding a way to make meaningful choices in a world marked by anomie yet defined by instant gratification.   Much of what we talk about when we talk about humanistic and existential psychology addresses these needs, and takes a stand against the idea that people need to drug themselves just to be happy.   But as New...

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Creativity

CREATIVE INSPIRATION

05/07/2012

“The key question isn’t ‘What fosters creativity?’ But it is why in God’s name isn’t everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might be now why do people create? But why do people not create or innovate? We have got to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle if anybody created anything.” Abraham Maslow

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