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 Case studies

Hypothetical psychopaths and presumed sociopaths have been much in the news lately, with “The Sociopath Next Door” claiming that four percent of the population is a sociopath, and recent media reports suggesting that 10% of Wall Street employees are psychopaths.   You’d also have to have a heart of stone not to weep for...
As a student, the clinics where I earned my hours had particular attitudes towards suicide ideation: it is bad and needs to be treated. Lately, I hear about an even more extreme posture from psychiatric institutions: namely, a person who reports suicide ideation cannot be discharged until they no longer report these thoughts. I have never used a...
Eugène Delacroix's 1822 painting of Virgil and Dante in Hell.
I’d like to share with you one of my finest supervision sessions. The session did not start off very promising for through parallel process, I was confronted with the same sense of helplessness as my student. However, in the midst of despair came inspiration and beauty that I would like to share with you. The student is doing his placement...
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...
Much of what we commonly think of as psychotherapy has come to be dominated by what we might call the toxicity of everyday life.   People are stressed and upset and depressed not because they have suffered some terrible trauma, but because they are not finding a way to make meaningful choices in a world marked by anomie yet defined by instant...
US Army
I had this experience a couple years ago that has been haunting me off and on ever since. When guys go “over there,” they know what they are signing up for. They don’t think they are coming back. Their delusion, if they have one, is that their death will have some kind of meaning: they will die honorably, in the line, pulling their brother out of...
We’ve all heard the saying that “Clothes make the man” (or woman). Now, a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and then reported in The New York Times is adding credence to that phrase—in an embodied way. The process, which the researchers Adam and Galinsky (2012) term “enclothed cognition,” was described as follows...
It started as a random comment posted by a friend on Facebook. The statement concerned God’s need for companionship, with a little twist at the end. I thought it humorous, checked that I like it, and moved on. Within a couple of days, however, there were comments from mutual friends asking our friend to show a little more sensitivity and...
Earlier this week I had a session with one of my clients, and it was one of those special moments when as she unfolded and came alive, I became enlivened as well. This is a 60-year-old woman, who has been my client for a number of years. She is a survivor of breast cancer, a mother of a 26-year-old daughter, and the wife of a husband who was...
A major tenet of existentialism is we create our lives through our values, choices, and actions. Certainly, no one would say this is an “easy” task during any time period. European Existentialists of the 1940s and 1950s, such as Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus, and Frankl, formed their philosophies with World War II as a backdrop—when...
Woody Allen says that he was basically a happy child until around the age of five when he came to realize that “all this,” meaning life, ended at some point. In the recent documentary about his life that aired as part of PBS’s series “American Masters,” this quotation is juxtaposed with a scene from the film “...
We were sitting in a cramped, cold classroom in Chengdu in western China, struggling to be of use, when one of our Chinese hosts said, “Psychology is dogshit.” Each year, a small group of students and professors of psychology visit China to talk about psychology and religion, existential psychology, and Chinese indigenous psychologies...