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.

Categories

Posts tagged with the category Art and Existentialism

Photo by NBC.
I never thought it would happen to me. I’ve spent a good portion of my life railing against this kind of activity—coming up with all the reasons—the aesthetic as well as the elitist—for why I should not participate. But now, it’s happened, thanks to an innocent request from my 10-year-old nephew, Judah, to watch with...
Recently, my husband and I enrolled in Senior Citizen’s Art Camp, sponsored by the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. It is a week-long, annual summer event offering instruction in various art forms including water color, acrylics and print making held at the Horticultural Center in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. My first thought when...
Jody Stephens performing with Chris Stamey.
“More important…is that aspect of beauty that transcends death. Beauty calls up in us the qualities that go beyond death, such as eternity, serenity, the use of the imagination to project us beyond time and space….” (May, 1985, p. 70) A few weeks ago, I found myself, as I occasionally do, going through a period of...
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...
Wisdom comes from the mouth of babes. It’s so true? There are few who do not love a children’s story. Why is it so? The older we get, the more opportunity we have to accumulate knowledge. Yet, wisdom points us back full circle to our young innocent selves. Ah, perhaps too much analysis will lead me further astray. I’ll simply...
Merleau-Ponty (1993) wrote, “For the speaker no less than for the listener, language is definitely something other than a technique for ciphering or deciphering ready-made significations” (p. 80). He is ever insistent that being-in-the-world is an embodied event, an ongoing discovery, and he relentlessly examines the ways in which...
Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto.
Integrity is a suggestive, inarticulate word: its definition is hard to pin down. For most of my life, I’ve associated the word integrity with “character,” yet another evasive word with multiple meanings. I’ve thought of integrity as suggestive of morality, of the ability to stand up for what’s “right,” to...
Nostalgia seems to be a universal phenomenon. It is the feeling and sensation that lets you know that a deep cord in your heart is being struck by some cherished memories. While the question of cultural difference in approaches to nostalgia has not been explored in psychology, we can deepen our appreciation of this phenomenon by consulting poets...
Existential psychology embraces creativity and the arts, especially as a counterbalance against the field’s current emphasis upon empiricism and science. Indeed “we express our being by creating. Creativity is a necessary sequel to being” (May, 1975, p. 8). W. H. Auden once remarked to Rollo May (1975) in private conversation:...
Jacob de Backer's Last Judgment, circa 1580.
I recently watched the film Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, with Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. Without giving it all away, Carell’s character, Dodge, is faced, as is all of humanity, with the imminent end of the world. An asteroid is on course to destroy the planet, and there are but a few weeks of life left on earth. The...
In Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Madeleine Elster (played by Kim Novak), possessed by the ghost of her ancestor Carlotta, notices a cutting of a redwood tree in the Muir Woods National Monuments in northern California, noting centuries of history marked by the rings of a great redwood. “Here I was born, and there I died,” pointing...
Photo by Georgi Kunev.
I want to share with you a most beautiful supervision session that I was privileged to be a part of courtesy of an extraordinary individual named Bruce Lee. Bruce shared with me a beautiful encounter he had with a patient he was asked to help at the oncology ward of a hospital in China. The patient was an elderly gentleman who was suffering from...