Saybrook University

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"To thine own self be true" is a creative manifesto

08/26/2011

The courage to create What does it mean to be authentic?  What standard do you go by?  What external standard can there possibly be, if authenticity is being true to the inner self?  How do you know?

Christina Roberts has some answers.  Her Saybrook dissertation was a study of creative older individuals, and she found a clear link between their creative work and their sense of having lived an authentic life. 

It may be, she suggests, that living authentically is itself a creative act.

She writes about her finding at The New Existentialists.  It's a must read.

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Organizations repeat themselves (over and over)

08/25/2011

Ever notice that your workplace has patterns?

Of course you have - every organization does.  In fact, understanding the "systems archetypes" of an organization -- common and usually reoccurring patterns of behavior -- can be a key to curing organizational dysfunction.

Each archetype has its own distinct storyline, and being able to change that storyline is a key leadership skill.

At the Rethinking Complexity blog, Saybrook Organizational Systems PhD student Jorge Taborga has gone over the research involving systems archetypes, listing some common types and explaining how to manage them -- even plan for them.

It's worth taking a look.

 

 

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Fear doesn't build character in kids

08/25/2011

Yakunchikova_Fear To say that trying to get kids to do the right thing by scaring them is "common place" is like saying Christmas is a holiday.  In fact, it's EVERYWHERE. 

We try to scare kids about the dangers of drugs, about the dangers of gangs, about what will happen if htey don't get an education, about what could happen if they talk to strangers, about drinking, about driving, about drinking and driving ... you'd almost think we enjoy scaring kids, we do it so much.

But it's effective, right?

At The New Existentialists, Saybrook psychology student Makenna Berry has gone over some of the evidence -- and it turns out that "scared straight" style interventions do little to no short-term good and negative long term impacts.

Uh oh.

Fortunately, there are better approaches we can take to help children navigate a world full of pitfalls.

Read about it here

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Why do we medicate first and ask questions later?

08/09/2011

Schizophrenia_PET_scan It's a common assumption among medical professionals that biochemical conditions must involve biochemical treatments -- you need to pop a pill for your depression and take medication for your blood pressure.

But that doesn't necesarilly follow.  High blood pressure is often best treated by diet and exercise, and depression -- even assuming it is a biochemical condition -- is frequently better addressed by talking with a therapist and changing your life. 

Writing at The New Existentialists, Sarah Kass notes that a recent study has shown that practicing yoga "helps to calm the schizophrenic mind." 

And why wouldn't it?  While the benefits of yoga have only been acknowledged by western medicine relatively recently, it has thousands of years of history behind it as an aid to meditation and a way to help unify mind and body.  The notion that this is inferior to a pill because ... because ... wait, why exactly?  Oh right, because it isn't "medicine."  Well, that's a notion that doesn't make any sense. 

Healthy approached that take the whole person into account should be medicine of first resort, not last - especially since practicing them is still a good idea when you're already healthy.  Unlike medication, the "side effects" of yoga are all positive if you do it right.  It can even serve as preventative medicine - the best kind.

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Who's in charge here?

08/03/2011

The_Three_Stooges Political leaders say they way a “systemic” fix to America’s problems – but Aimee Juarez doesn’t believe them.

Writing at Rethinking Complexity, she suggests that American politicians are very good at causing system problems but not at fixing them.  The only kind of solution congress ever looks for are piecemeal solutions, with little regard to the big picture or long-term consequences.

As a result even good ideas can push us deeper into the hole we’re digging … because systemic problems require system-wide solutions.

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Is Carl Jung having an American Renaissance?

08/02/2011

220px-Hall_Freud_Jung_in_front_of_Clark_1909 That's the question asked by Saybrook Psychology Professor Eugene Taylor, who has recently been asked to review two books about Jung's work for the APA's website.  

A recent upswing in positive reviews of Jung's work, new analysis about Jung's insights, and popular acclaim, Taylor suggests, are signs that even academic psychology - long dominated by "experimentalists" who didn't believe anything they couldn't measure under laboratory conditions - is accepting the value of depth psychology's approach to the human mind.

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Our youth obsessed culture is about to get a shock

07/27/2011

The first wave of Baby Boomers are retiring, and by some estimates one-in-five Americans will be over 65 by 2030. 

How does a culture obsessed with youth cope? 

So far, most of our fixes have been technological - and amazing new gadgets to help the elderly function are in the works.

But even the researchers behind these new inventions admit it:  our society can't handle this "silver tsumani" without fundamentally changing they way it handles the elderly. 

An essay at The New Existentialists suggests that psychology should be playing a key role in this transition.  That instead of just trying to "fix" symptoms, psychologists have a vital role to play in providing healthy perspective to people about the a life that includes old age. 

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Why is the NFL better at compromising than congress?

07/26/2011

800px-Shake_hand This week the NFL announced it had reached an agreement with its players. 

Republicans and Democrats?  Not so much. 

In his recent book, On Compromise and Rotten Compromises, Avishai Margolit, professor emeritus of philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, refers to compromise as “an ambivalent concept.” On the one hand, we laud those who can preserve friendship or peace through cooperation. On the other hand, we revile those who too readily accede to intransigence. Compromise can be pragmatic and strategic, consider the resolution of the Cuban missile crisis; compromise can be cowardly and weak, consider much of the historic judgment against policies of appeasement during the rise of Nazi Germany. In an environment where words are chosen carefully to frame a perception in order to influence another’s thinking, how we conceptualize compromise matters.

Read more about compromise and America at Rethinking Complexity

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Why are we all less happy?

07/25/2011

In 2009 a major study showed that women were increasingly unhappy in the modern world – and a host of pundits, psychologists, and sociologists asked “What’s happened to the fairer sex?” 

Was it feminism that was making women less happy?  Economic inequality?  Higher expectations?  Loneliness?  Feminism?  (That one came up a lot.  Apparently people like to blame things on feminism).

Two years later, another data set has been analyzed, and it turns out that the reason more women are unhappy has nothing to do with women.  According to the data, we’re ALL less satisfied with life than we were 25 years ago.

Why?  What does it mean?  At the New Existentialists, they have a pretty good idea:  it means we've been trying to become happy by proxy, substituting medication and commercialization for an inner life.  Turns out that doesn't work. 

Read more.

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Catch Saybrook at this year's APA in Washington D.C.

07/22/2011

Saybrook University is always well represented at the American Psychological Association, with faculty, alumni, and students making presentations, leading panels, and holding debates.

This year they’ll be presenting on everything from using expressive arts in the workplace to the medical uses of hypnosis and the culture of cyberspace.

Saybrook’s annual APA convention dinner, sponsored by Dr. Stanley Krippner and the Saybrook Alumni Association, will be held on Friday, August 5, from 6 - 9 p.m., at Clyde’s of Gallery Place (707 7th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.).

RSVP REQUIRED

To RSVP, or for more information, email Saybrook Alumni Director George Aiken, or call:  415-394-5968

A list of Saybrook faculty, student, and alumni presentations at this year’s APA (Aug 4-7) is below:
 

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