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

Photo by Jo Fjompenissedalheibakke
If you get depressed when you turn on the radio, it could be the news – or it could be the music.  According to new research, pop music has gotten significantly sadder over the last half-century.  That’s measured in terms of tempo (it’s gotten slower), key (minor keys have come to predominate), and subject matter (...
If we accept an existential perspective, we probably also accept the premise that reality is subjective--that everything we perceive comes through the lenses of our experiences and senses, rather than as some ideal Platonic forms.   In a new essay now available to the New Existentialists' library, Daniel B. Pitchford and Jeannine A....
Hieronymus Bosch's The Ship of Fools, ca. 1494-1516
For those of you who didn’t know the month of May has been National Mental Health Month. And even if you did know about Mental Health Month, you may not know that we have been celebrating this since 1949. According to a press release from Kathleen Sibelius, Secretary for Health and Human Services: Mental Health Month was established in 1949 to...
Francesco Hayez's The Kiss (1859)
When I first read Greg Behrendt’s book “He’s Just Not That Into You,” one of the statements he made that stuck out for me (and with me) was his claim that “you are not the exception.” The logic is that men generally behave in a predictable way, and as much as we women like to make excuses, we should save ourselves the heartache and assume that if...
Photo from the Copeland Family
The most basic premise of existentialism is that we are all going to die eventually. No matter how much we may try to escape it or deny it, as Ernest Becker says, death will come for all of us. In a recent post to a Society for Humanistic Psychology list serve, David Elkins discussed some of Becker’s work, saying that in some ways, Becker paints...
Photo by Paul Martin Lester
Last fall, the Society for Existential Analysis in England held a conference on technology in psychology. My first thought when seeing the topic was that some presentations would address in some form the relationship of cell phones and texting to therapy. Curiously, cell phone use did not make the cut in the conference presentation schedule. Given...
Drawing by Leonardo da Vinci
When does life begin? In the shadow of the President’s announced requirements concerning birth control, and the Republican’s awkward dance of being the most “pro-life” candidate, there is a renewed emphasis on the question, “when does life begin?” Is it at conception? Or, perhaps at a certain stage of development of the fetus? Maybe it is when the...
The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation ~ Thoreau If you have eyes to see, you’ll see it everywhere. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear it. Most times, logging into Facebook provides an overwhelming dose of it. Desperation. It looks a lot like the person who can’t wait for the weekend. It sounds like the person who walks into the office...
A recent blog post by Dr. Bruce Levine at madinamerica.com contended that anti-authoritarian individuals are socialized out of the mental health professions, leaving these professions filled with authoritarian personalities. According to Levine, “most psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals are not only extraordinarily...
What relationship does the experience of riding Harley Davidson-Motorcycles have to existentialism? A first response may be “Nothing!” Riding a Harley is a leisure activity—it is not related to existentialist philosophy or psychology at all. Because I have conducted extensive research on the meaning of riding a Harley for those who own them, I...
Life. Running here and there. Pre-occupied with this and that. Swept away by one thought or another. We barely have time enough to notice time passing, never mind the preposterous proposition, dare I say, to notice not just our thoughts, but the space around them: a momentary peripheral reverberation, an infinitesimal synaptic break between...
Yesterday I was speaking with a colleague at the college where I teach, a sociology instructor, who asked me this question: “Why doesn’t our society teach people how to be happy?” Implicit within this question, which became more explicit in our brief conversation, was a shared concern regarding our cultural values, focusing particularly on the...