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

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...
I have always defined myself as an existentialist. As a parent, this meant I was responsible for providing opportunities for my children so they could develop into unique individuals. I watched as they created their respective identities through the authentic (fortunately, more authentic than inauthentic) choices they made. It was easy to see my...
A former refugee camp in Hong Kong.
One of the things that we existential psychologists take seriously is the existence of evil in the world. It is so painful for me when I become aware of how much evil and pain is perpetrated in the world for various reasons. The pain is such that I prefer not to think about most of the time. When I do take time to think about it, I am baffled,...
David Gilmour of Pink Floyd in the 1970s.
Some songs get taken for granted. We listen to them over and over again, feeling a vague sense of sentimentality and yet never really understanding their brilliance until we are ripe enough in our experience to finally hear them with a more evolved set of ears. I had an experience this week with my group clients that involved music. It so neatly...
走前面的人走过的路! I took the road less traveled, and it made all the difference. - Robert Frost At the 2nd International Conference on Existential Psychology held in Shanghai in May, Xuefu Wang presented a keynote address on Lu Xun and the Iron House, providing a quick glimpse into an indigenous Chinese model of existential psychology and psychotherapy...
A few years ago, I tried my hand at a fancy decorating technique in my master bathroom. I was going for deep red with vertical white lines, but my deep red bled through my painters’ tape. Rather than crisp white lines, I got an unfinished look. The house has needed a lot of other work, and my wife and I stay pretty busy. This room has been left in...
It has been fascinating watching the media go a-gog over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s announcement of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate. Fiscal conservatives are rejoicing and celebrating this apparent move to the right by Governor Romney. Social liberals are aghast at the threat Rep. Ryan’s...
50 Shades of Grey is the recent trilogy that has swept the women of the world off our collective feet and is touted as "mommy porn". Women are discussing the main character, Christian Grey, as though he were a real person, while spending hours "casting" the upcoming 50 Shades movie. According to the Los Angeles Times, 50 Shades of Grey has sold...
I have a confession to make. I am occasionally prone to outbursts of anger. Now some of you may be shocked and appalled, while others of you share my pain, and still others might say that’s no big deal—depending on your personal experiences with anger and rage. I would be much more accepting of my anger if I felt it was actually productive and...
I am the human embodiment of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. We even have the same initials—JLS (Jacqueline Lisa Simon—before I was married). When I read about Jonathan’s life in Richard Bach’s bestselling book, I imagine how freeing it would be to have wings that can fly. I could literally pick up and go anywhere I wanted. No gas tank to fill, no...
The remains of a sewing machine in a house after a wildfire.
This morning I found out my uncle’s house burned down due to wildfires in Oklahoma. Bam! Just like that. A life built, semi-destroyed. He was able to get a good bit of stuff out luckily, but still lost a lot. A retired research botanist, who cares deeply about nature, had his house stolen from him by nature. It all seems so unfair. My family has...