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

As a child and a young man, I spent much of my spare time in swimming pools. At the age of nine, a neighbor helped me overcome my fear of the deep end by putting floaty bands on my arms and tossing me into the deep end of the high-school swimming pool. After that, I was fearless in the water, taking the high dive, exploring the floor of every pool...
Editors' Note: This series is dedicated to memory of Dr. Eugene Taylor, a founding member of the New Existentialists, whose inspiration and superior scholarship will serve as a beacon for current and future existential psychologists. Existential psychology is experiencing a resurgence in recent years, as marked by numerous new publications (...
I love books. I learned to read when I was very young and was reading at a post-high school level by third grade. The librarian in my hometown often called my parents to inquire whether they approved of my book choices before she allowed me to check them out as many of them were very advanced for a young child. Books were my sanctuary and in many...
I have decided that the word normal ought to be removed from the dictionary; or perhaps the definition changed or clarified. Being normal, I have concluded, is an existential hazard. It is a soul-killer. So who makes the rules of normality? And why are they held as fundamental truths? The consideration of normality is contextual; what is thought...
Photo by Ray Nata.
The final scene of the film Flight takes place in a prison yard around a picnic table. Will has come to visit his father, Captain “Whip” Whitaker. The Captain is thrilled that his son is visiting and greets him enthusiastically, after some small talk the following exchange takes place: WILL:    My college counselor...
A sometimes inflammatory comment, especially when we get specific with it. If everything is imaginary, then God is imaginary, you and I are imaginary, the truth is imaginary. I sometimes toss out these sorts of comments to be provocative and then act surprised when people are provoked. A recent discussion about whether rights are real induces and...
Photo by New York World-Telegram.
Our calendar has brought us to an unusual place whereby we observe three significant moments of American history at the same time. We celebrate the second inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States, we remember the life the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and we mark the 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court...
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...