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

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...
Photo from the Copeland Family
The most basic premise of existentialism is that we are all going to die eventually. No matter how much we may try to escape it or deny it, as Ernest Becker says, death will come for all of us. In a recent post to a Society for Humanistic Psychology list serve, David Elkins discussed some of Becker’s work, saying that in some ways, Becker paints...
I am in a Shanghai art museum, looking at paintings that are hundreds of years old. So old, in fact, that even light damages them. But what good is art kept in the dark, out of view? Why preserve it if it will never be seen? So these paintings hang behind leaded glass, under dim lights controlled by motion sensors. I see a darkened room that...
Photo by Paul Martin Lester
Last fall, the Society for Existential Analysis in England held a conference on technology in psychology. My first thought when seeing the topic was that some presentations would address in some form the relationship of cell phones and texting to therapy. Curiously, cell phone use did not make the cut in the conference presentation schedule. Given...
Drawing by Leonardo da Vinci
When does life begin? In the shadow of the President’s announced requirements concerning birth control, and the Republican’s awkward dance of being the most “pro-life” candidate, there is a renewed emphasis on the question, “when does life begin?” Is it at conception? Or, perhaps at a certain stage of development of the fetus? Maybe it is when the...
The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation ~ Thoreau If you have eyes to see, you’ll see it everywhere. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear it. Most times, logging into Facebook provides an overwhelming dose of it. Desperation. It looks a lot like the person who can’t wait for the weekend. It sounds like the person who walks into the office...
A recent blog post by Dr. Bruce Levine at madinamerica.com contended that anti-authoritarian individuals are socialized out of the mental health professions, leaving these professions filled with authoritarian personalities. According to Levine, “most psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals are not only extraordinarily...
As a student, the clinics where I earned my hours had particular attitudes towards suicide ideation: it is bad and needs to be treated. Lately, I hear about an even more extreme posture from psychiatric institutions: namely, a person who reports suicide ideation cannot be discharged until they no longer report these thoughts. I have never used a...
Eugène Delacroix's 1822 painting of Virgil and Dante in Hell.
I’d like to share with you one of my finest supervision sessions. The session did not start off very promising for through parallel process, I was confronted with the same sense of helplessness as my student. However, in the midst of despair came inspiration and beauty that I would like to share with you. The student is doing his placement...
Nina Simone in 1982. Photo by Roland Godefroy.
It is one of those 4 A.M. nights and my “blog” time is up, so I might as well go with what is upon me. After all, isn’t a blog really just a diary gone public; everyone putting their two cents in for all the world to see? Just the word “blog,” can make me cringe, and I did resist this whole idea at first. Now, each time the month rolls around, I...
What is a mental disorder? This is a question the American Psychiatric Association (2012) has been contemplating as it prepares the DSM-5, the soon-to-be-published revision of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The DSM-5 development website proposes the following new definition of mental disorder (APA, 2012): A behavioral...
What relationship does the experience of riding Harley Davidson-Motorcycles have to existentialism? A first response may be “Nothing!” Riding a Harley is a leisure activity—it is not related to existentialist philosophy or psychology at all. Because I have conducted extensive research on the meaning of riding a Harley for those who own them, I...