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

Photo by Alex Proimos.
Our human nature and cultural conditioning tend to pull us in opposing directions, constructing illusory dualities and false dichotomies within which we are forced to choose between apparently contradictory ways of being. However, if we look deep enough, we discover that these seemingly negating modes of existence are in fact complementary,...
Viktor Frankl. Photo from Prof. Dr. Franz Vesely.
108 years ago in Vienna, a child was born, who, like many other children of that time, faced decades of existential challenges in his future such as had never been seen before in this world in such a concentration of cruelty, diversity and sustainability that was to endure for the following generations—for us. The name of this boy was...
Just one year ago, a very peaceful finish line scene.
Ernesto Spinelli (1997) describes un-knowing, with the hyphenation, “in order to distinguish the term from its more common meaning as that of which we remain unfamiliar” (p. 9). The concept, he says, Refers to that attempt to remain as open as possible to whatever presents itself to our relational experience. As such, it expresses...
Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto.
Integrity is a suggestive, inarticulate word: its definition is hard to pin down. For most of my life, I’ve associated the word integrity with “character,” yet another evasive word with multiple meanings. I’ve thought of integrity as suggestive of morality, of the ability to stand up for what’s “right,” to...
Nostalgia seems to be a universal phenomenon. It is the feeling and sensation that lets you know that a deep cord in your heart is being struck by some cherished memories. While the question of cultural difference in approaches to nostalgia has not been explored in psychology, we can deepen our appreciation of this phenomenon by consulting poets...
A detail of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel.
Paul Tillich once said that doubt is not the opposite of faith, but, rather, certainty is the opposite of faith. This paradox of certainty and faith has created a multitude of chasms and splits among Christians over the centuries, but more so over the last 150 plus years. Since the period of enlightenment, and especially in the 19th century, the...
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...
Photo by Toby Hudson.
To marginalize is the process of relegating or confining to a lower or outer limit or edge, as of social standing. Hence, marginalization is the social process of becoming or being made marginal (especially as a group within the larger society): "the marginalization of the underclass,” "the marginalization of literature."...
When I think back to my college education, I consider it a small wonder that I ever found my way to existential psychology. My undergraduate psychology department as a whole was hostile to the threat of philosophy encroaching upon their discipline. One professor even announced to my cohort that psychologists do what philosophers merely think about...
Our government is designed to be dysfunctional. The various “checks and balances” keep any one group from having too much power, making it difficult to get anything done in Washington unless there is almost unanimous agreement from it. This is by design, to prevent tyranny. Our government is also designed to be for the people and by...
College football in Florida. Photo by Will Bostwick.
In the wake of a crisis situation, we often do not know how we are going to react—we are trained as therapists to learn to stay calm, to assess the situation, and to determine which steps to take next. However, situations arise that even cause us to question what the “correct” way to react is, or even if there is a “correct...
Edmund Husserl
I love Teo and Febbraro’s (2002) pointed observation that “Psychology’s history can be studied as a history of fads” (p. 458). Teo (1996) has written that psychologists “have tended to value meta-theoretical constructions from outside their discipline more than those from inside their disciplines,” with the...