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

Nietzsche probably said it best when he declared that "he who has a why to live can bear almost any how". It helps to explain how Viktor Frankl could lose everything, including his family and life's work in a concentration camp to emerge and eventually become a highly influential psychiatrist. It helps us to understand how Nelson Mandela could...
Photograph by Andreas Tille
One major aspect that makes Existential Psychology stand out from other models of psychology is that we use a different Psychological Currency. What we value is Meaning as the great contributor toward an individual’s psychological health. Without meaning in one’s life, there is little to help the individual live with vitality. Other psychologies...
Paul Ricoeur
In addition to teaching Husserlian phenomenology, I work with a number of students whose primary interest is narrative, and in response I’ve recently turned to works by writers including Paul Ricoeur—in particular, Oneself as Another (1995)—and Donald Spence’s (1982) Narrative Truth and Historical Truth: Meaning and...
Many veterans and soldiers of combat (around the world) become lost into traumatic experience, never fully returning to what may have been former selves, ways of being, and ultimately, a lost sense of meaning and relatedness. Finding no sense of meaning after having to see comrades die, killing another human being, or even being continually “on...
With the exception of baseball, there is perhaps nothing more Americana then the Garage Sale. Only along the tree-lined streets of suburban America will you find garage doors open early on a Saturday morning unveiling a trove of stuff (Thank you, George Carlin!) deemed both worthless and valuable at the same moment. As the urban treasure hunters...
Participants in ICEP 2012. (click photo to enlarge)
The Second International Conference on Existential Psychology (ICEP), at Fudan University in Shanghai, China from May 24-27, 2012, was once again a great success as gauged by the number of people in attendance and the enthusiasm of the conference. The interest in the conference quickly outgrew the venue, which could only hold 300 people in the...
It happens so quickly. One minute, your life is going along smooth and easy and the next, you are looking around at the wreckage of what used to be your life. In an instant, your life has radically changed and you're left with a pile of rubble, trying to pick through what's left and salvage the little bit you can. Shattered. The shattering event...
Photo by Jo Fjompenissedalheibakke
If you get depressed when you turn on the radio, it could be the news – or it could be the music.  According to new research, pop music has gotten significantly sadder over the last half-century.  That’s measured in terms of tempo (it’s gotten slower), key (minor keys have come to predominate), and subject matter (...
If we accept an existential perspective, we probably also accept the premise that reality is subjective--that everything we perceive comes through the lenses of our experiences and senses, rather than as some ideal Platonic forms.   In a new essay now available to the New Existentialists' library, Daniel B. Pitchford and Jeannine A....
There are few psychotherapeutic procedures as deeply misunderstood as reflective listening. Contrary to popular opinion in psychology, reflective listening is more than a parroting back of the client’s speech. Writing of reflective listening late in his career, Carl Rogers claimed that his goal in responding to his clients was not to reflect their...
Hieronymus Bosch's The Ship of Fools, ca. 1494-1516
For those of you who didn’t know the month of May has been National Mental Health Month. And even if you did know about Mental Health Month, you may not know that we have been celebrating this since 1949. According to a press release from Kathleen Sibelius, Secretary for Health and Human Services: Mental Health Month was established in 1949 to...
Francesco Hayez's The Kiss (1859)
When I first read Greg Behrendt’s book “He’s Just Not That Into You,” one of the statements he made that stuck out for me (and with me) was his claim that “you are not the exception.” The logic is that men generally behave in a predictable way, and as much as we women like to make excuses, we should save ourselves the heartache and assume that if...