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 Politics

Photo by Bengt Nyman.
My last two entries for the New Existentialists have focused on the nature and influence of fear, and how American culture has shifted from a more adventure-based society to a fear-based society. As a society—whether speaking about politics, religion, militarization, communities, neighborhoods, or individuals—we operate from an...
There is a reason that many of the most twisted and destructive people on this planet are not seen as “mental patients.” They tend to be ordinary or even celebrated individuals—and their brains are as “normal” as the rest of us. Does this not tell us something glaring about the inadequacy of our current diagnostic...
A law class at Roanoke College.
For years, I have heard horror stories of professors teaching diversity classes being traumatized by their students. Included were stories of a number of experts in diversity who were passionate about teaching diversity, but no longer wanted to teach diversity courses because their course evaluations were poorer than in other classes, included...
Pathological diagnosis can be used by medical and psychological professionals as a neutralizing technique by transforming social discontent into personal doubt and imaginary demons. For the vulnerable subject involved it can function as a kind of mental pill that if swallowed can leave them impotent and unable to defend themselves or see reality...
The sentencing of Bradley Manning in August 2013 ended for the moment a type of social theater where many interesting and at times disturbing realities were brought to center stage. In relation to the theme of psychological diagnosis, what was fascinating was how the legal debate surrounding Manning's reasoning for leaking the documents...
Is it possible to shame the intolerant into tolerance? In diversity class back in the graduate school days, the other students and I at some point concluded the only acceptable intolerance was for the intolerant or for intolerance itself. We abdicated responsibility for listening to bigots of any stripe or for accepting that they might be good...
Thomas Jefferson, by Charles Wilson Peale.
Our education system is currently in crisis. It is no secret that American children are at best average when compared to children from other countries (see, e.g., this Huffington Post article), and our adults fare very poorly on tests of math, science, history, and general knowledge. This has serious implications for our democracy. Thomas...
Photo by José Goulão.
The news last week was obsessed with the inability of Congress to govern the country, as demonstrated by the shutdown. Cable sources were distracted for a moment by a woman who ran some barricades and was shot to death as she exited her car on Pennsylvania Avenue. It is our fault. We are a nation increasingly obsessed with violence. Our Congress...
Being compassionate has not come easily for me. I was raised in a very black and white, good versus bad, right over wrong culture. In my family system, who was to blame was the major concern in disciplinary matters. Learning what God determined as right and wrong or good and bad served as the focal point of my religious training. If you did not...
Photo by Associated Press, 1946.
I see messages like this everywhere. Some very wise people have said it in one way or another. Leo Tolstoy, for example, said, "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no-one thinks of changing himself." Marianne Williamson said, “Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love. We melt into another world, a realm of...
[Editor's Note: Listen to Louis Hoffman speak about the DSM-5 controversy on City Visions radio on KALW.] The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is receiving a dramatic increase of attention since the new version (i.e., the DSM-5) became available. This discussion is important given the DSM-5 is not just another book;...
I laughed my way through basic training. It was a hoot. Watching small people try to intimidate us with their small presences, with canned insults and one-liners, and stories so old they could only be apocryphal…a time of hilarity despite all the stress. Particularly amusing was a talk one training instructor gave about “acme,”...