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 Training

Some of my greatest teachers and greatest inspirations as an existential psychologist and professor have been my students. Although it has become cliché to say that teachers learn from their students, I hope to speak to this as a personal experience that comes alive beyond the cliché. When I speak of students, particular students come to mind,...
The students who put this question to me are usually taking their first course in phenomenological or hermeneutic (narrative) research. And in a way, I feel for them, because many of them didn’t expect to be facing something called “epistemology,” and bumping into any number of arcane Greek terms that seem to bear no relationship to the...
Members of the EHI Certificate cohort.
I have just walked out of the most transformative three days of my life. I find myself grappling to find the words to capture the beauty and power of this encounter without diluting the essence. I find that I suddenly understand Heidegger’s use of the hyphen in his writings as the English language suddenly falls far short of a single word, or even...
Wang Xuefu
Wang Xuefu was the first psychologist I met in China in 2003 with a commitment to an indigenous psychology. It was he who introduced me to the Chinese novelist, Lu Xun, and to the notion of Zhi-mian (the courage to face the future), and I have been reading both Wang and Lu Xun ever since. Over the years, Wang has been in conversation with Western...
There are few psychotherapeutic procedures as deeply misunderstood as reflective listening. Contrary to popular opinion in psychology, reflective listening is more than a parroting back of the client’s speech. Writing of reflective listening late in his career, Carl Rogers claimed that his goal in responding to his clients was not to reflect their...
A recent blog post by Dr. Bruce Levine at madinamerica.com contended that anti-authoritarian individuals are socialized out of the mental health professions, leaving these professions filled with authoritarian personalities. According to Levine, “most psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals are not only extraordinarily...
Anyone in higher education today knows that the field is drastically changing. Nervous academics and administrators are engaging in intense debate regarding the causes of the problems and scrambling to find solutions before they become imposed upon the academy by accreditation bodies. It is evident that a myriad of factors contributed to the...
At the 2011 APA Convention last August, I was asked to accept, in tandem with Kirk Schneider, the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was awarded posthumously to my teacher and friend Jim Bugental. I began it with a poem: If his penetrating gaze, twinkling eyes and inviting presence, ever captured you, then you knew Jim Bugental. If you ever...
“Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.” -St. Augustine Recently, I had the opportunity to present a class on existential psychotherapy to a cohort of first-year Master’s-level clinical students. As I attempted to explain the shift from a mode of existence in which we look at how things are into a more...