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

Paolo Veronese's Happy Union (c. 1575)
The historical roots of humanistic psychology are firmly planted deeply in the European traditions of existentialism, phenomenology, and personalism. Most humanistic psychology scholars readily acknowledge a debt to existentialism and phenomenology, yet the contributions of thought within personalism are often unacknowledged. In part, personalism...
The lived experience of having someone die in your presence can have personally impact. I had the occasion to listen to the account of a paramedic’s experience with having a patient literally die in his arms. I was able to offer an existential perspective to him, drawing the on the works of Rollo May’s The Meaning of Anxiety and Ernest...
Photo by NBC.
In the first psychology class I ever took, now 14 years ago, I learned that people tend to believe that they have always believed what they currently believe. The case of a clear conversion event might be an exception. Otherwise, we tend to think we are just as we always were. When thinking about the things I think about, I have taken this to...
How could a wicked character be given by the Gods? –- Plotinus In The Soul’s Code, Hillman (1996) offers the acorn theory as an alternative to explaining human life in terms of genetic determinism or as a sheer accident. The idea for the acorn theory came from Plato’s "Myth of Er" in The Republic. Following Plato,...
Editor's Note: Jerome Wakefield gave a presentation on his harmful dysfunction approach to defining mental disorders at SUNY New Paltz in March 2011. Jonathan Raskin served as discussant, and his response, reproduced here, remains highly relevant in light of ongoing debates about how the upcoming DSM-5 should define mental disorder. Video of...
Moment of silence for the Sandy Hook victims.
I have read hundreds of posts, articles, and blogs since the horrible murders of the children and adults in Newtown, CT. I searched for words, images, thoughts, insights, or perspectives that would somehow describe the emotions and turmoil I was experiencing. There was a sense of desperation, a sense of hopelessness that left me feeling incredibly...
In the midst of the holiday cheer, carols, and season’s greetings cards, there is something else that demands our attention, something that cannot be silenced and will not go away. I speak of it not because I’m a pessimist, or even a grave realist, or because I want to dispel any of the seasonal magic to which we are desperately...
Don’t try too hard to figure out what it is; you have to experience it. I tend to get this advice when I ask the question, that and diversions from requests to embody the feeling, to tell me about the experience of it. Say “poetry,” and people will start talking about souls and angels and ephemera and beautiful old people with...
A memorial for victims of the Newtown shooting.
The citizens of a city are not guilty of the crimes committed in their city; but they are guilty as participants in the destiny of [humanity] as a whole and in the destiny of their city in particular; for their acts in which freedom was united with destiny have contributed to the destiny in which they participate. They are guilty, not of...
Today I went to pick up a new pair of eyeglasses. Every time I have ever worn a new pair of specs, something very interesting happens, regardless of whether my prescription changes. I put the glasses on, and everything looks clearer, at first. Then I get up to walk away, and the world appears slightly out of proportion. The clarity is still...
Rodin's Eve After the Fall
The experience of shame is universal. As social creatures, humans desire connection and a sense of belonging. Each social group to which one belongs has established, often implicitly, certain standards of behavior or ways of being that are deemed acceptable. Transgressing these moral codes of appropriateness threatens expulsion or censure from the...
Ving making coffee in her Kuala Lumpur shop.
Not being a coffee drinker, I nevertheless went on a quest for a good cup of coffee in Malaysia with my friend and Zheng Liren, a frequent contributor to The New Existentialists, because of his deep passion for everything related to coffee.  Liren makes a point of visiting specialty coffee shops wherever he travels.  He told us about how...