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 Existential Psychology Abroad

My friends didn't believe in giving money to homeless people. But I couldn't escape the notion that I should be doing something. It was Shanghai in maybe 2009 or 10. Wealth was everywhere, crazy wealth. In Hong Kong, we had walked through an indoor mall for three hours. It seemed endless. Commerce was alive and well. People had money, no...
I know a few words of Chinese. I can ask for the bathroom and I can ask for a cup of coffee. Basically, if you can do those things in any given language, you are going to be all right wherever you are. But I also know the words zhi mian. These words have several interconnected meanings, two of which are given here: 1. To sit facing one another....
Photo by Ian Capper.
I chose this quote by Nietzsche as the title of my blog because I was reminded of it during a recent trip I took through southern Xing Jiang in Northwest China earlier this month. My friends in Xing Jiang introduced me to the multi-leaved poplar tree (poplar diversifolia). My friends brought me to admire the transient beauty of the poplar when it...
“The way to value life, the way to feel compassion for others, the way to love anything with greatest depth is to be aware that these experiences are destined to be lost” -- Yalom, 2008 It has been three months since I returned from the Bay Area. In some ways, it still feels surreal, to be back to a place that used to be so familiar...
Over the course of the past seven months, I have been asked countless times by loved ones, friends, co-workers and strangers, “So what have you learned?” (by moving to the Bay Area). While most may be expecting some concrete answers on theories and concepts of therapy, and useful therapeutic skills or tools, I find that my answer is...
Edmund Leighton's 1919 "Sweet Solitude."
Isolation vs. Relation As I began to make conscious efforts to be more present with myself and how I live my life, my heightened sense of self-awareness also led to the increased awareness of my sense of aloneness—the life anxiety that Otto Rank (cited in Yalom, 2008) warned us about. In coming to the Bay Area, I experienced first-hand,...
As I immerse myself in “the work” and struggle to seek a new way of experiencing and being, I was able to appreciate the meaning of the four important paradoxical concepts of our human existence Irvin Yalom described in his book Existential Psychology (1980) from a whole new perspective. Freedom vs. Responsibility I flew many miles...
Photo by David Yu.
[Editor's Note: I am honored and delighted to be able to write this brief introduction to a series of blogs written by a courageous Malaysian student and her journey into her own existence. The person that I'd like to introduce to you is JoAnn Loo who I met during one of my workshops in Malaysia. Prior to our meeting, Joann had already...
Statue of Maitreya Buddha. Photo by Payal Vora.
Recently I returned from a trip to China where I was asked to speak at a conference entitled “Buddha from the Heart: Humanistic Psychology Maitreya Culture.” Maitreya Buddhism is a lesser-known school of Buddhist thought originating in China, particularly connected with Maitreya Buddha (i.e., future Buddha). The focus of the conference...
Berlinghieri's St. Francis of Assisi (1235).
“What was your experience of taking Ritalin like?” She shot back a look, somewhat surprised, almost shocked at my question. It seemed she found it incredulous that anyone would ask for HER account of her experience. And why not? Having been diagnosed multiple times by different people in different institutions, she was not unfamiliar...
Two thousand years ago, Epictetus (135 C.E.), the Greek sage and philosopher, articulated very well what I gather to be one of life’s most profound—and somewhat obvious—truths. “Some things we can control, some we cannot.” To learn the difference between the two, is of great value, he says, because preoccupying...
Le nozze di Figaro. Photo by Gunnar Wrobel.
In my last blog, I wrote about a beautiful moment of cinematic creation in the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Since presenting this western movie to workshop participants across Asia, I since found out that this is one of the top ten movies for male audiences in China. The movie is a cinematic classic that inspires us to move beyond...