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

My skin is a differential field day for mental health practitioners, even those who are colleagues. My history and its rocky journey are mapped erratically on my body in white keloid streams raised from the way my tears burned through my own flesh. I have a memory for each one. I embark on an emotional journey every time my fingers accidentally...
[Editor's Note: Listen to Louis Hoffman speak about the DSM-5 controversy on City Visions radio on KALW.] The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is receiving a dramatic increase of attention since the new version (i.e., the DSM-5) became available. This discussion is important given the DSM-5 is not just another book;...
One of the interesting aspects of being an existential therapist is learning the perceptions that others have about what it means to be existential. After having taught about existential psychology at seven universities, I have heard quite a few different perspectives. However, the diversity within existential psychology is maybe as diverse as the...
I laughed my way through basic training. It was a hoot. Watching small people try to intimidate us with their small presences, with canned insults and one-liners, and stories so old they could only be apocryphal…a time of hilarity despite all the stress. Particularly amusing was a talk one training instructor gave about “acme,”...
Last week, I bought a hat. For the record, I do not normally buy hats, nor do I normally shop in the kind of fancy one-of-a-kind SoHo boutiques in New York City where I bought this one. But my friend Carmen was visiting from Spain—her first trip to the United States—and saw the interesting collection of fabrics in the window and...
Photo by Alexander Buschorn.
As the National Institute of Mental Health jettisons the DSM-5, I find myself pondering the “science” of psychology and its relationship to existentially oriented clinical practice. One must concede psychology’s woefully dubious track record: from phrenology and Mesmerism to prejudiced intelligence testing and pathologization of...
Unconditional love. Is it possible for humans—or even desirable? We sometimes talk about the idea of unconditional romantic love. This seems the least likely of all loves. Romantic love necessarily discriminates. You love him because of who he is. If he were transformed into a whole other person, you'd not love him any more—at...
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Part Four: Supporting the Natural Health Process After outlining the basic needs and many of the possible types of nourishment barriers that can appear (in Part Three), the final, and of course, most important part of this model is exploring the implications for supporting an organism’s health. While this same basic model can presumably...
When we think about providing comfort to others and ourselves our first thought may not be about food. Yet, in many societies, it is customary to take a meal to people when they need support, are sick, or when someone dies. It is a way of helping people in trouble sustain themselves when the last thing they may want to do is cook. When I got...
Photo by Chelsea Kennedy.
My six-year-old son got his first pedicure this last weekend. He was with three women at the nail shop, and initially, he decided against the pedicure but quickly grew bored with his video game and elected to join us. He chose blue for his nail color. Since then, he’s scarcely noticed the color and hasn’t even mentioned it but I am...
Photo by Jessie Eastland.
What is Embodiment? Embodiment refers to the bodily aspect of human subjectivity, the kinesthetic awareness of our body as the vehicle through which we experience the lived-world. It is not a cognitive understanding of self in the world, but a proprioceptive, tacit, prereflective, intersubjective awareness connecting the mind, brain, and physical...
Photo from images.virtualology.com.
I have been resonating in the last few months with what it means to be an American. I’m wondering if we have lost some fundamental truth or insight into what freedom is. We have begun to believe that we should never have to stand up for anything difficult because our forebearers took care of something centuries ago. Since our conflicts have...