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

Paulo Coelho
Existential themes permeate our society, supporting the notion that no matter how many ways we try to hide, there is no running from what it means to be human. Although our society is quick to assuage the anxiety brought on by existential awareness, the themes are there, and it is up to us as the new existentialists to tease the awareness out and...
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,...
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...
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 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...
An object seen from a distance reveals only its principle. --Frank Herbert Beauty is truth and truth beauty. --John Keats I've been asking people to try to embody beauty. That is, when you experience something as beautiful how do you feel? What is that like? This is part of my accelerating quest to encounter the world as a human. Too often I feel...
A number of us humanists and New Existentialists travelled to China recently for the Second International Conference on Existential Psychology. It was an awe inspiring and moving time for many of us. A team of us then traveled to various locations throughout China to deliver workshops with the goal of introducing existential psychology to China....
It happens so quickly. One minute, your life is going along smooth and easy and the next, you are looking around at the wreckage of what used to be your life. In an instant, your life has radically changed and you're left with a pile of rubble, trying to pick through what's left and salvage the little bit you can. Shattered. The shattering event...
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 (...
I am in a Shanghai art museum, looking at paintings that are hundreds of years old. So old, in fact, that even light damages them. But what good is art kept in the dark, out of view? Why preserve it if it will never be seen? So these paintings hang behind leaded glass, under dim lights controlled by motion sensors. I see a darkened room that...
Nina Simone in 1982. Photo by Roland Godefroy.
It is one of those 4 A.M. nights and my “blog” time is up, so I might as well go with what is upon me. After all, isn’t a blog really just a diary gone public; everyone putting their two cents in for all the world to see? Just the word “blog,” can make me cringe, and I did resist this whole idea at first. Now, each time the month rolls around, I...
Joseph Merrick in the 1889 British Medical Journal.
The gift of cinema is a holistic experience like no other art form. It engages every sense but smell and taste (unless you count when John Waters' “Polyester” was being screened. Scratch and sniff cards were handed out at the theaters, like 3-D glasses, and not all of the scents were as pleasant as the classroom childhood relics flavored with...