Existential psychology is enjoying a renaissance in China and parts of Europe, while an increasing number of studies show that its techniques and approaches are as or more effective than drug treatments in many cases.
But pharmaceutical companies have billions of dollars to pour into marketing campaigns, and insurance companies don't like to support therapeutic treatment that focuses on individual outcomes. While a recent review in the American Psychological Association's website suggested that existential therapies are at the heart of any effective therapy, academic psychology programs remain stubbornly focused on cognitive behavioral treatment, neuro-psychology, and psychopharmacology.
In this environment, what is the future for Existential psychology? How do its practitioners make their mark in a culture that values quick fixes?
The American Psychiatric Association approved final revisions to the DSM-5 this past weekend, threatening to turn every aspect of human life into a form of “mental illness.”
Now more than ever, Existential Psychology needs to forge its path through the diagnostic morass that mainstream psychology has become to provide a truly human, truly healing alternative to the individual, unique people who come to see us each week.
Starting in January 2013, Saybrook University’s website on existential psychology, The New Existentialists, will commence an original series entitled “The Future of Existential Psychology,” in part as an answer to the state of mainstream psychology today and also to explain what we stand for.
The 2012 International Human Science Research Conference (IHSRC) will take place from June 25th - 29th at of the University of Quebec at Montreal. Representing Saybrook will be faculty members JoAnn McAllister, Bob McAndrews, Amadeo Giorgi, and Mark Applebaum. They will be accompanied by Saybrook students Geoff Thompson, Lourdes Viado, and Dennis Rebelo.
It has become increasingly common to discuss the cultural aspects of conflict and conflict resolution. Where does conflict come from? Some scholars take a social constructionist view of conflict, rooted in social science literature, which also provides the philosophical underpinnings of Human Science as taught at Saybrook. The construction of meaning is a social act, and meaning is a negotiated process.
During the trial of Anders Behring Breivik - the anti-Muslim militant who massacred 77 people in Norway last summer - Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! spoke with Norwegian sociologist and mathematician, Johan Galtung, who is regarded as the principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies. His granddaughter was on the island when Breivik attacked.
The New Existentialists, a Saybrook University-based website dedicated to promoting the work of the 21st century’s Existential Psychology movement, has added a new section following the controversy surrounding the DSM-V … the so-called “Bible” of psychiatry.
“While the DSM has had a long history of controversy since its first edition was published in 1952, with various factions within the scientific community disagreeing over particular diagnostic criteria or psychiatric assumptions, the current conflict over the latest incarnation of the DSM is rife with disagreement and acrimony,” writes Dr. Donna Rockwell, in her introduction to the new section.
New articles from around the world on the DSM are now being stored on The New Existentialists, for review any time, along with Dr. Rockwell’s explanation of the issues behind the controversy. It is updated regularly, to keep you on top of the issue.
On March 28th, Saybrook's Dr. Pilisuk will participate in the invitation-only event OccuPsy: Mobilizing Critical Psychoanalysis for the Movement. This gathering brings together people who think psychologically, psychoanalytically, and critically to brainstorm and dialogue about what might be helpful in strengthening the movement, especially with regard to helping it grow and become more effective.
Saybrook student Geoffrey Thompson publishes chapter in "Mental Illnesses - Evaluation, Treatments and Implications"03/21/2012
The Vitality of Fragmentation: Desublimation and the Symbolic Order
By Geoffrey Thompson
This chapter will focus on theoretical, clinical and personal challenges surrounding my work as an art therapist in an adult outpatient service of a psychiatric hospital. The evolution of my thinking pervades my clinical work with the client discussed in the vignette, as I sought to integrate desublimation from art theory and philosophy with psychoanalytic theory. (Thompson, 2007).