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New Existentialists

Leveling the Playing Field: A Place in the Herd

05/20/2014
Leveling the Playing Field: A Place in the Herd
I live in a Central Ohio suburb. It’s the kind of place where kids play on the street in front of their homes while dogs lie on front porches watching the world go by and the neighbors all know each other by name. On a summer evening, the smell of steaks cooking on outdoor grills and freshly cut grass waft through the air. The white picket fences, traditional mailboxes, and manicured lawns that surround me are a symbol of privilege and a testament to achieving the American Dream. It’s the Hollywood version of suburban America that I grew up watching in movies and TV shows in...

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New Existentialists

Where Autopoiesis Becomes Myth

05/19/2014
Where Autopoiesis Becomes Myth
What is the relationship between the mind (subjectivity), the brain (neurochemistry), and the transcognitive (myth)? In other words, when do unconscious, autopoietic biochemical functions enter the subjective world of intentional meaning and become interpreted at the symbolic or mythic level of conscious experience? Where autopoiesis approaches myth at the moment of conception, when the spark or light of germinal consciousness first appears, it becomes myth during the first few months of life with the development of the nervous system, when the organism in utero intersubjectively infuses what...

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New Existentialists

Existential Roundup

05/16/2014
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. As we note that it has been almost one year since the DSM 5 has hit the bookshelves in spite of its plethora of flaws, we can also note that the whole idea of diagnosis has begun to evolve. Of course, in existential-humanistic circles, diagnosis has always been a questionable concept, but even those outside the E-H circles are beginning to shift some of the rigidity in the thinking, as evidenced by the new...

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New Existentialists

No Superman

05/15/2014
No Superman
The Amazing Spiderman sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy. Captain America, Winter Soldier. This summer will be replete with superhero movies on the big screen. Sales of books, cartoons and videos, action figures and other toys, continues apace. What is it about the superhero that enthralls us? In some ways, superheroes keep pace with the times. Superman started as fairly modest. He grew up on a planet with high gravity, and therefore was very strong on Earth. He could jump high, fight, flip over cars. As the world became more and more globalized, his enemies grew in stature. In the beginning, he...

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New Existentialists

Fear—The Beginning of Wisdom?

05/14/2014
Fear—The Beginning of Wisdom?
For the last couple of months, I have been assisting a family in which their teenage son ran away from home. The parents are divorced, and the son had been living with his father prior to the runaway attempt. Once the parents located the son, the mother immediately brought him to her home where the son is currently living. What emerged from the attempted escape were accusations by the young man that his father had been physically and psychologically abusing him. In addition, the son shared that he was being bullied at school by a group of boys who were in his physical education class. The...

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New Existentialists

Getting Real About Virtual Reality’s Victims

05/13/2014
Getting Real About Virtual Reality’s Victims
What does the clinical literature say about how to treat someone whose avatar was sexually abused online? To my knowledge, it doesn't really say anything—but 20 years of reportage from online cultures suggest not only that this experience happens, but that some people experience it as quite traumatizing. Such a violation is the tip of a very deep iceberg. Last week, in a guest contribution to the New Existentialists, Josh Weddle wrote eloquently about the very real potential of new technologies to offer new approaches to clinical care in mental health. Today, I’d like to...

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New Existentialists

The Relationship in Academia

05/12/2014
The Relationship in Academia
An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education on May 6, 2014 reported on recent research suggesting that a connection with a caring professor may be an important contributing factor to college success (Carlson, 2014). For existential psychologists, this is not surprising. There is a preponderance of evidence suggesting that it is the relationship that heals in therapy (Elkins, 2009; Wampold, 2001). It is not surprising that the same is true in academia. Yet, this is not as simple as just telling professors to be kind and caring. The article states, “College graduates… had...

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New Existentialists

Existential Roundup

05/09/2014
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. Who are you? Who am I? The question of identity and authenticity is one that has plagued all philosophers—not just the existentialists—since the beginnings of time. Some new research discusses how we construct aspects of our identities, our personalities, and our wishes to change our character entirely. One question we always want to know—are you an introvert or extrovert? Are you social or...

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New Existentialists

Antihero In Real Time

05/08/2014
Antihero In Real Time
Here is my latest confession: I am addicted to the television show 24. This is not news, since the show was on for eight seasons and went off the air in 2010. But it has resurfaced, with new episodes that began this past Monday as 24: Live Another Day. I am sucker for everything about 24—the format (the show purports to be happening in “real time” so that each minute of the 60-minute show is indeed a real minute in the world of the characters), the storylines (political terror and intrigue), and of course, the characters. Jack Bauer has become quite the icon in the pantheon...

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New Existentialists

On the Verge of Virtual, and Why Psychologists Should Care

05/07/2014
On the Verge of Virtual, and Why Psychologists Should Care
Facebook recently announced its acquisition of Oculus (Associated Press, 2014), a company that has been making waves for developing immersive hardware for virtual reality technology. As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, the benefits of virtual reality stretch far beyond video games, and could "someday be used to enjoy a courtside seat at a basketball game, study in a classroom, consult with a doctor face-to-face or shop in a virtual store" (Associated Press, 2014). The potential for such a product is immensely vast. Reports about the Oculus technology reflect a fully real sensation...

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