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

Some of my greatest teachers and greatest inspirations as an existential psychologist and professor have been my students. Although it has become cliché to say that teachers learn from their students, I hope to speak to this as a personal experience that comes alive beyond the cliché. When I speak of students, particular students come to mind,...
While a human being’s life certainly involves an extensive range of essential, defining characteristics, it seems to me that, without oversimplifying such a complex question, it is most significantly characterized by two processes that are distinct yet inseparable—the search for personal identity and the development of meaningful relationships...
Lava on the Big Island. Photo by Atelier Joly.
“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” -- William Shakespeare As the pilot gently lifted the plane into the dirty white sky settling over the island’s western coast, I put my head back, closed my eyes, and reflected on the past six days. They were days of triumph and tragedy, of beauty and banality, of chaos and calm, of dreams and...
Photo by Miyuki Kobayashi
After surveying the room, my father leaned over the dining table and whispered to my sister and me, “I’m the youngest one here”. Then, he started crooning that lovely song from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, “Younger Than Springtime.” We had just moved our 88-year-old father into an assisted living facility. I stayed there with him for...
Crowds cheering Osama bin Laden's death.
We are a Christian nation. We say it; we believe it; we don’t think that much more about it. And all our un-Christ-like thoughts and impulses are denied, becoming daimonic. Stephen Diamond (1996) posited that thoughts and feelings left untended can grow to dominate the personality. The angry person who denies their anger stops noticing they are...
Paulo Coelho
Existential themes permeate our society, supporting the notion that no matter how many ways we try to hide, there is no running from what it means to be human. Although our society is quick to assuage the anxiety brought on by existential awareness, the themes are there, and it is up to us as the new existentialists to tease the awareness out and...
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Photo by Steve Jurvetson.
Where does inspiration come from? Sometimes I find myself trolling through books and articles, looking for a line or a thought that inspires me to action, whether that action is writing or performing a difficult task or simply getting up in the morning. But it is rare that in the act of actively “looking” for inspiration through words that I...
Unless you have been living under a rock during the last two weeks or live in a country that does not find U.S. news an addictively bad soap opera, you are well-aware of the political battle regarding “facts” and “truth.” In a New York Times op-ed piece last week, Charles Blow said, “Honesty is a lost art. Facts are for losers. The truth is dead....
A friend brought to my attention a Craigslist ad that went up in mid-August, and to say I was morally outraged is an understatement. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Craigslist, it is an online listing of ads for items on sale, usually at bargain prices, as well as housing ads and job listings. Many people who use Craigslist tend to have...
I recently read an article on the Huffington Post regarding how military suicides have doubled from June to July 2012. I was interested in the responses of the military to this epidemic that makes “them” responsible for creating these losses, which now total more than those lost in the current wars. One quote caught my attention. It was a response...
Last week, I took my nine-year-old nephew to see the movie Paranorman, a film describing the adventures of young kid, often picked on by the school bullies, who is called to save the town from both zombies and a witch—actually a young girl, also an outcast, who was mistakenly burned as a witch hundreds of years earlier. The film was good enough,...
I don’t vote. I don’t vote, because I think the system is evolving, and the only way for it to evolve into something good and worthwhile is for people to keep making mistakes. We have to repeat painful errors enough times until we decide to change the system. Meanwhile, we have to continue to live with the consequences of not changing the system...