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 Art and Existentialism

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...
The Maui coast. Photo by Ryan Oelke.
The man selling fresh fruit a couple of blocks from where I am staying in Maui first explained the best way to cut and eat a pineapple. After purchasing the perfectly golden delight, I asked what the meaning of “aloha” is to him. “Oh, many people say it for everything,” he said. “But most people don’t know the...
From the 1843 edition of A Christmas Carol.
Holiday time in the United States means lots of things to lots of people, but for movie buffs (aka cinema aficionados, film snobs, and DVR space hogs) like me it means the return of the classic Christmas movies. And also the classic Christmas specials—the cartoons and Claymation rank right up there for me. Many people quickly dismiss these...