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 Academia

I recently wrote about my struggles with small talk, particularly in answering questions about where I am from. As someone who is a bit of a nomad, it’s difficult for me to lay claim to a “hometown.” Including some stints in temporary accommodation, I have lived in seven residences, in six cities and three countries over the last...
Jacob Matham's (ca. 1587) engraving "Pride."
One of my least favorite parts of therapist training was a deep investigation in who I am. What motivates me, what are my weaknesses and blind spots and vulnerabilities. There isn’t room enough in a blog like this to begin to list these weaknesses, and I am certain others will tell you if you ask them in private. That said, one of the...
Lu Xun
Quick to kindle, quick to calm down, an even quick to grow decadent, men of letters [i.e., a type of scholar] can always find reasons and precedents from the classics to justify their shifts of allegiance. (Lu Xun, 1931/2003) One repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil. (Nietzsche, 1892/1966) The impulse in contemporary...
Aboard the Vallejo. Photo by Rick Umbaugh.
The following is a (true) tall tale for existential-humanistic researchers demonstrating that not all research has to be tedious. When I first enrolled in the Alan Watts course at Saybrook University, I wasn’t too impressed by Watts. I thought he was sort of a pompous Brit lording it over the colonies—he even admitted he used a walking...
Welcome to the Existential Roundup, where we bring you links to some articles currently trending that may be of interest to those in the existential-humanistic psychology community. While the news of late may have focused on guns, we are going to spend some time in this roundup on triggers—trigger warnings, that is. For those of you new to...
Recently, one of my students—a junior in high school—raised his hand and asked if he really had to sign the back of his test form. I asked him why he was asking. He replied, “I don’t know how to write in cursive.” Part of the new Common Core requirements is the elimination of teaching cursive handwriting. This change...
Photo by Tulane Public Relations.
An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education on May 6, 2014 reported on recent research suggesting that a connection with a caring professor may be an important contributing factor to college success (Carlson, 2014). For existential psychologists, this is not surprising. There is a preponderance of evidence suggesting that it is the...
Photo by Mike Kalasnik.
In a previous issue, I noted that for-profit, corporate motives have infiltrated our public education system, resulting in the same sorts of power structures at community colleges as at Wal-Mart or at for-profit schools. In other words, we depend increasingly on part-time labor whom we can deny benefits or fair pay while compensating the top...
Photo by Scott Sandars.
Oh how I love to trick my students! Yes, you read that correctly. I take SUCH sublime delight in performing the role of playful psychopomp for them. In my Existential-Humanistic Psychotherapy course, I initiate them into the elusive art of crafting authentic healing relationships in therapy, inviting, and then daring them to eschew their...
Colours of Diversity Mural in Singapore.
“We don’t need to talk about diversity; we’ve got that covered.” Whenever I hear these or similar words, I immediately am skeptical and on guard. In fact, I would say that statements of this sentiment are among the most common microaggressions in contemporary culture. When it comes to diversity, we never have it covered; it...
The legendary movie about the conflict between rote learning and passionate engagement with the humanities at a boys prep school in the 1950s recently celebrated its 20th anniversary—and came in for a resounding barrage of criticism. Kevin Dettmar, an English professor at Pomona College, penned a piece for The Atlantic entitled “Dead...
Photo by Nevit Dilmen.
I deeply believe that one of our greatest crises in the United States, as well as much of the world, is our inability to achieve work-life balance. Although “crisis” may sound dramatic, I believe there is a case for it. The psychological and physical health costs are quite significant, despite the difficulty in calculating them. These...