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

Cantigas de Santa Maria manuscript illustration.
In my previous role as a supervisor and training director, I often found my students repeating back to me the phrase that James Bugental taught about “listening to the music rather than the lyrics” when conducting therapy. Bugental had a nice way of putting it by teaching us to facilitate the clients “talking out of themselves...
Photo by Vicki Nunn.
My travels across China always spur reflections on relationships and, in particular, friendship. My most recent trip earlier in June was no different. One night, my good friend Mark Yang and I, had dinner with some friends in China. One of our colleagues from China witnessed Mark and I presenting together several times over several years. She...
Palpable existentialism, also called Experiential-Existential Therapy (Madison & Gendlin, 2011), crosses Eugene Gendlin’s “Philosophy of the Implicit” and its Focusing practice with the spirit and basic tenets of the British School of Existential-phenomenological psychotherapy. Among other emphases, it encourages us to make...
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...
Photo by Graham Horn.
When confronted with the invitation to share some thoughts about the future of existential psychology, the first question that came into mind was whether existential-phenomenological psychology (as I prefer to call it) is in fact constituted and well-established as a science, with an outlined object of study, research methodologies and with...
Photo by Robert E. Haraldsen.
What I am about to say is not based on Ronald Laing’s published work, but on what I have gleaned from my personal relationship with him over the course of nearly 20 years, from 1973 when I first came to know him when I moved to London to study with him at the Philadelphia Association, then subsequently after returning to California in 1980...
I have recently completed a six-day short trip back to my late grandfather's village in Shantou, China. It was a trip that began in an almost touristy way: landing at the airport, checking in, and marvelling at the comforts of the hotel, having a feast of a dinner for the price of a smaller meal back home. My extended relatives, whom I have...
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...
Junkaroo festivities in the Bahamas.
Existential and humanistic psychology has struggled in is embrace of diversity (see Hoffman, 2012, for an extended discussion of this topic). Yet, there is hope that change is coming. The first vital step was working to gain widespread acceptance that diversity is an important topic worthy of consideration in existential psychology. Increasingly...
I “discovered” existential psychology back in 2008 while a PhD student at Saybrook University. At the time, I was undergoing a crisis of meaning, or perhaps it’s more appropriate to say a “crisis of control.” I had slipped into a deep depression due to the fact that life was just not doing what I wanted it to do....
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:...
Zuangzi’s problem of the koi Zuangzi famously argued with a friend (Hueitse) over whether we could know the mind of another being. He noticed some fish swimming in the river under the bridge they were crossing, and said the fish must be happy. His friend argued it was impossible to know how the fish felt, as he was not a fish. Zuangzi...