It matters that people have a way to use the latest findings in psychology beyond buying a pill for depression. It matters that people have a way of looking at their lives that lets them ask the big questions and determine how they want to live – and that this is supported by therapists and mental health professionals.

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Posts tagged with the category 21st century life

The revelation of the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program reminded me of my earlier presentation at the sixth annual Society for Humanistic Psychology conference. I presented on Lame Deer, a Lakota Sioux medicine man, whose critiques of western culture (circa 1971) and his antidotes that are very similar to those of humanistic psychology. I...
Photo by Centrale Num.
“If you just believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything.” “If you set your mind to it, there’s nothing that you can’t do.” “Nothing is impossible.” These statements sound wonderful and are deeply inspiring, and along with millions of other Americans, I long to wholeheartedly affirm them, but...
As the mother of two young children, I am much more aware of the new children’s movies that come out. Most recently, I took my kids to see The Croods, an animated film about a “cave family” facing the end of the world, as they know it. The movie is really quite good and addresses many existential themes but has one major flaw...
Every semester, when I teach Introduction to Psychology, I ask my students to apply what they have learned in the chapter on memory by writing about a flashbulb memory. A flashbulb memory is a vivid, detailed personal memory that an individual perceives as highly accurate. The usual examples given are memories of where a person was and what you...
Photo by Edith Schreurs.
Dedicated to the Amazing Healers at Harborview Medical Center, Seattle WA There was a moment in the ER that I’ll never forget. My mother had just been transported from the island she lives on near Seattle to the major trauma hospital downtown. My sister was visiting from Los Angeles and had gone whale watching with my mother that afternoon...
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor in Germany during the rise of Adolf Hitler and World War II. Throughout his career as a professor and parish pastor, Bonhoeffer opposed Hitler’s rule, and especially Hitler’s Aryan policies. Bonhoeffer was vocal in his opposition to Hitler, participated in underground efforts to smuggle Jews...
The role that technology has in the world is arguably the most important question we can ask. In what follows, I want to think through with you Martin Heidegger’s conception of technology in order to see if it can apply to the hyper-technologized world of today. I suggest that the work of Donna Haraway might be a useful supplement to the...
For those of you who haven’t read this recent story in The New York Times,  I highly recommend it. It is essentially a woman’s (Linda Logan’s) rich and moving autobiographical account of her struggle with “bipolar disorder.” The main message that I imagine most people will take away from this story is that the...
R. D. Laing and Andrew Feldmár in 1982.
Years ago, R. D. Laing and I were sitting on a beach of Cortes Island, immersed in conversation, when a man approached us. He had just emerged from the sea, huffing and puffing and wet. He greeted us, and after some small talk, he commented on how hot we must be and said, “You should go in for a swim!” Laing’s face immediately...
Photo by Ralph Hirschberger.
Can despair save us? Rollo May’s breakthrough work was a book about anxiety. This work was the first time a psychologist wrote positively about anxiety for an American audience. The Meaning of Anxiety (May, 1950) made a big splash in small circles. Both before and since, though, Americans have largely viewed anxiety as something needing...
Schneider, Rubin, Lichtanski, and Hoffman.
A few Sundays ago, I attended a protest at the American Psychiatric Association Convention in San Francisco with my Saybrook colleagues, Kirk Schneider, Kristopher Lichtanski, and Shawn Rubin. We attended because of our concerns about Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) due to be published next month. Despite numerous...
Eight years ago, I made the fateful leap from doctoral training into community mental health, jumping headfirst into a clinical internship at a hospital in one of Brooklyn’s most impoverished inner city neighborhoods. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into at first, although I knew it would be tough, and I knew it would be real...