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 Key Concepts

Guido Reni's The Adoration of the Shepherds.
Martin Luther once stated that the image of a baby lying in a manger demonstrates the profound wisdom and compassion of the Almighty. He believed it was human nature to be drawn to a baby because of the innocence and vulnerability a baby represents. C. S. Lewis once described the birth of Jesus as the equivalent of a human being becoming an ant....
Photo by Oscilloscope Laboratores.
“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.” (Sartre, 1957, p. 27) Or… is he? And what about his mother? A few nights ago, I watched the 2011 movie “We Need To Talk About Kevin.” Since then I’ve been saying, “Oh yes, we do.” (Warning...
Photo by Thamizhpparithi Maari.
What makes life worth living? Is it the depth of one’s capacity to love and trust, the ability to forgive and make amends, the realization that life is momentary and nothing can be grasped, the satisfaction and recognition of accomplishment, self knowledge, the power to accept what we cannot change, or something else? Another set of...
Winter Solstice. Photo by Peter Trimming.
I reside in the Chicagoland area of Illinois, where a deficiency of Vitamin D in the blood is a widespread medical condition. I am acutely aware of the encroaching brevity of daylight and the darkening of the year as I stand upon the threshold of the Winter Solstice. The lengthening shadows of the afternoon loom like grim, sarcastic teachers,...
Several years ago, when I learned of my election as President of Society for Humanistic Psychology and took on the role of President-Elect, I began to use this preparation time to reflect deeply on what it means to be a humanistic psychologist. Much of this preparation has been an exploration of the early history of the movement, and its emergence...
Ebenezer Scrooge in a 19th woodcut by John Leech.
The holiday season is my favorite time of the year. Every year I look forward to it with great excitement, eagerly anticipate it, and can’t wait for it to arrive. Most especially, I love Christmas. While I know it may sound corny and cliché to some, I do believe that it is truly magical and profoundly special, a phenomenon of...
I don’t go in for a lot of religion (none, if you want the truth). And yet, this morning I awoke with a phrase from the Old Testament in my head: “Take off your sandals. This is holy ground.” This is the first time Moses meets El at the burning bush in Exodus (3:5). Strange for this old piece of lore to be loitering in my head....
The New York Times’ special report on “The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder”  is one more reminder, in a long trail of breadcrumbs, that we become the stories we tell about ourselves. Things that once seemed inevitable—hardwired in, biologically determined—were, in many cases, inventions to suit our life...
Photo by Ed Yourdon.
On a globe that daily witnesses countless acts of conflict both large and small, our human capacity for altruism seems more important than ever. Not surprisingly, psychologists today are increasingly interested in understanding this vital care-giving phenomenon, certainly with the hope that such knowledge will lead to a more harmonious humanity....
Photo by South Africa The Good News.
Most of us don't lack compassion so much as we avoid it. We resist compassion in the United States with a peculiar hypocrisy, extolling the virtues of volunteerism, for instance, while making volunteerism more of a necessity by diminishing our budgetary commitments to the poor and powerless. ... Our primary response to human suffering...
Photo by Attila Malarik.
It was some years ago, while in my late 20s, that I began therapy and an apprenticeship of sorts with an admired existential psychotherapist. I was intrigued to work with him because of his training and life-long friendship with the controversial and pioneering Scottish psychiatrist, R. D. Laing. As a student of consciousness and existential...
H. L. Mencken.
Florence King once defined “misanthropes” as “people who can’t suffer fools, and like to see fools suffer.” It’s hard for me to think of a healthier motto, and I’d like to suggest by way of this essay that King’s 1993 history of misanthropy, “With Charity Toward None,” should be on...