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

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...
Today I went to pick up a new pair of eyeglasses. Every time I have ever worn a new pair of specs, something very interesting happens, regardless of whether my prescription changes. I put the glasses on, and everything looks clearer, at first. Then I get up to walk away, and the world appears slightly out of proportion. The clarity is still...
Rodin's Eve After the Fall
The experience of shame is universal. As social creatures, humans desire connection and a sense of belonging. Each social group to which one belongs has established, often implicitly, certain standards of behavior or ways of being that are deemed acceptable. Transgressing these moral codes of appropriateness threatens expulsion or censure from the...
Ving making coffee in her Kuala Lumpur shop.
Not being a coffee drinker, I nevertheless went on a quest for a good cup of coffee in Malaysia with my friend and Zheng Liren, a frequent contributor to The New Existentialists, because of his deep passion for everything related to coffee.  Liren makes a point of visiting specialty coffee shops wherever he travels.  He told us about how...
The barracks at Auschwitz.
[Editor's Note: The following are the author's reflections during and following a trip to site of the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oświęcim, Poland, as part of Bernie Glassman's and the Zen Peacemaker's 17th annual "Bearing Witness Retreat."] While I do not know what the ultimate impact of this experience will be, I do know that...
Photo by Cha già José.
It is time to go to war again against the DSM-5 panel and the new volume they have agreed to publish as is. This book will radically reshape the way clinicians have to bill insurance, codes diagnoses, and receive reimbursement. Some of the worst things did not make it into the volume—parental alienation disorder, for example, a product of divorce...
I’m sure we are all familiar with what I assume is the most frequently asked question in a first encounter or meeting with another person: “So, what do you do?” I cannot be the only one who is intrigued by this very common phenomenon. In terms of cultural commentary, I wonder what this says about our American society. What does this question mean...
Photo by Els Diederen.
I recently watched an old favorite movie of mine, The Man in the Iron Mask. This film came out in 1998 and is a fictional account of some well-loved characters, the Three Musketeers. The storyline is that the King of France, Louis XIV, is a bad king, more concerned with bedding mistresses than with the welfare of his people. The Three Musketeers,...
Albius Tibullus (c. 54-19 BCE)
“Before one’s individual ability-to-be, there goes an unshakable joy in this possibility.” -– Martin Heidegger, Being and Time While I do not feel very celebratory about the colonization of American by the West, and the violent displacement of Native Americans, I think a holiday dedicated to gratitude is not such a bad idea in itself. In today’s...
"Narcissus." Photo by Adi Ness (2000).
I spoke with a fellow psychotherapist this weekend at the Sixth Annual Conference for the Existential Humanistic Institute in San Francisco about a topic that seems to be presenting itself to me in many circles. It is a topic that I have been motivated to explore because of personal experiences I've encountered, as well as academically and...
I was recently conducting a workshop in Singapore, and an earnest student asked, “You talked a lot about the healing power of companionship, but how exactly does that help when it comes to pain and suffering?” I’ve accepted the “truth” that companionship is a powerful antidote for existence pain and suffering, but it’s been a while since I’ve...