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

I sat with two girlfriends chatting in a hotel lobby bar and as the conversation tends to, we soon began talking about life and the trials we each have faced. My friend, who is a cancer survivor and whose mother is also a cancer survivor, mentioned that she sees being a survivor as an event, similar to a wedding date or a graduation. We each...
Photo by Sean O'Flaherty.
I was sitting in an Alanon Step meeting last week, working on step #3: “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” I was listening to the stories of people in crisis, or people who were impacted by the crisis of those they loved dearly. I was observing the intimacy involved in...
In Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Madeleine Elster (played by Kim Novak), possessed by the ghost of her ancestor Carlotta, notices a cutting of a redwood tree in the Muir Woods National Monuments in northern California, noting centuries of history marked by the rings of a great redwood. “Here I was born, and there I died,” pointing...
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...