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 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...
Life. Running here and there. Pre-occupied with this and that. Swept away by one thought or another. We barely have time enough to notice time passing, never mind the preposterous proposition, dare I say, to notice not just our thoughts, but the space around them: a momentary peripheral reverberation, an infinitesimal synaptic break between...
The Dance of Death
Dear Reader, I come to you in the form of this article simply because I have found I have no other way to get through to you. It seems that most times when we meet, our encounters are quick, superficial, and you quickly push your awareness of me from your mind. Our relationship wasn't always this way. When you were a child, you couldn't understand...
Yesterday I was speaking with a colleague at the college where I teach, a sociology instructor, who asked me this question: “Why doesn’t our society teach people how to be happy?” Implicit within this question, which became more explicit in our brief conversation, was a shared concern regarding our cultural values, focusing particularly on the...
US Army
I had this experience a couple years ago that has been haunting me off and on ever since. When guys go “over there,” they know what they are signing up for. They don’t think they are coming back. Their delusion, if they have one, is that their death will have some kind of meaning: they will die honorably, in the line, pulling their brother out of...
We’ve all heard the saying that “Clothes make the man” (or woman). Now, a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and then reported in The New York Times is adding credence to that phrase—in an embodied way. The process, which the researchers Adam and Galinsky (2012) term “enclothed cognition,” was described as follows...
Anyone in higher education today knows that the field is drastically changing. Nervous academics and administrators are engaging in intense debate regarding the causes of the problems and scrambling to find solutions before they become imposed upon the academy by accreditation bodies. It is evident that a myriad of factors contributed to the...
At the 2011 APA Convention last August, I was asked to accept, in tandem with Kirk Schneider, the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was awarded posthumously to my teacher and friend Jim Bugental. I began it with a poem: If his penetrating gaze, twinkling eyes and inviting presence, ever captured you, then you knew Jim Bugental. If you ever...