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

The role that technology has in the world is arguably the most important question we can ask. In what follows, I want to think through with you Martin Heidegger’s conception of technology in order to see if it can apply to the hyper-technologized world of today. I suggest that the work of Donna Haraway might be a useful supplement to the...
For those of you who haven’t read this recent story in The New York Times,  I highly recommend it. It is essentially a woman’s (Linda Logan’s) rich and moving autobiographical account of her struggle with “bipolar disorder.” The main message that I imagine most people will take away from this story is that the...
R. D. Laing and Andrew Feldmár in 1982.
Years ago, R. D. Laing and I were sitting on a beach of Cortes Island, immersed in conversation, when a man approached us. He had just emerged from the sea, huffing and puffing and wet. He greeted us, and after some small talk, he commented on how hot we must be and said, “You should go in for a swim!” Laing’s face immediately...
Photo by Ralph Hirschberger.
Can despair save us? Rollo May’s breakthrough work was a book about anxiety. This work was the first time a psychologist wrote positively about anxiety for an American audience. The Meaning of Anxiety (May, 1950) made a big splash in small circles. Both before and since, though, Americans have largely viewed anxiety as something needing...
Schneider, Rubin, Lichtanski, and Hoffman.
A few Sundays ago, I attended a protest at the American Psychiatric Association Convention in San Francisco with my Saybrook colleagues, Kirk Schneider, Kristopher Lichtanski, and Shawn Rubin. We attended because of our concerns about Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) due to be published next month. Despite numerous...
Palpable existentialism, also called Experiential-Existential Therapy (Madison & Gendlin, 2011), crosses Eugene Gendlin’s “Philosophy of the Implicit” and its Focusing practice with the spirit and basic tenets of the British School of Existential-phenomenological psychotherapy. Among other emphases, it encourages us to make...
Wisdom comes from the mouth of babes. It’s so true? There are few who do not love a children’s story. Why is it so? The older we get, the more opportunity we have to accumulate knowledge. Yet, wisdom points us back full circle to our young innocent selves. Ah, perhaps too much analysis will lead me further astray. I’ll simply...
Photo by Andrew Dunn.
There are two moderately sized communities at the western edge of one of the most fertile valleys in the world. Both communities are nestled close by the ocean, enjoying the luxury of comfortable days and cool nights. Both are made up of multiple cultures and are world renowned. Less than an hour’s drive separates them by distance, yet by...
It was 2010. After graduation, I took my family to San Diego. We collectively needed the rest, the break, even though we couldn't really afford it. We had a great time, did lots of child-oriented activities, but also had some more grown-up sorts of experiences. One of these was a moment at the wildlife sanctuary. There we saw the last of a...
Richmond GMO Protest. Photo by Lorin Droppa.
In the last two years, I have noticed and become part of a trend that I hope will continue. The trend is that our community of existential-humanistic psychologists has begun to move toward social activism. We have seen the power of publically taking positions for and against psychologically relevant issues. The most well-known of these positions...
Competition is the source of growth and progress. I believe that deep down many of us know this to be true. However, in recent decades, this perspective has seemingly fallen out of cultural favor and now appears to represent a quite unpopular view. In fact, the term “competition” itself has assumed certain negative connotations,...
Guan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion.
Ronnie Laing was a Freudian to the extent that, like Freud, he was a deeply insightful and compassionate reader of people. He had the gift of unlocking the combination to the heart vault of virtually anyone and everyone with whom he came into contact. The experience of being “seen” by Ronnie was uncanny. You felt as if you were...