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 Psychotherapy

The theme of this blog concerns R. D. Laing’s conception of psychopathology. This is not an easy topic to explore, in part because Laing was somewhat ambivalent about the concept and avoided even using this term. In The Politics of Experience (1967) Laing famously questioned whether schizophrenia, the form of psychopathology he is most...
British WWI Recruiting Poster, 1915.
I worked a few years at our state mental institution on a unit for people with chronic problems and especially problems of violence, escapism, and sexual predation. Most of these men were relatively low-functioning, and the longer they had been on the unit, typically the lower their level of function: years of isolation and drug treatment made...
Dammit women! Get down! Those dirty Naps are coming! A forceful yank and then a gentle shove to the cold concrete ground startled me. The lights in the hospital room dimmed and the shades drawn. The metal-framed door slammed quickly shutting off human contact and other intruders. Shock, fear, and adrenaline racked my body. Three psych techs...
Several years ago I was teaching at a university in Colorado and a small group of us were working to fan the fire of interest in existential psychology with some success. Each year, we brought Kirk Schneider to co-teach a seminar on existential psychology. Mark Yang began joining us from China, often with some Chinese colleagues. I fondly remember...
From an 18th century Icelandic manuscript.
A few years back, during internship, I had a client who was into Jungian astrology. She insisted that she be able to run my charts before committing too much to therapy with me—wanted to know if we were compatible, if I would fit into the destiny she saw for herself in her own charts. With my supervisor's assent, I gave out the data she...
One of the interesting aspects of being an existential therapist is learning the perceptions that others have about what it means to be existential. After having taught about existential psychology at seven universities, I have heard quite a few different perspectives. However, the diversity within existential psychology is maybe as diverse as the...
Photo by NBC.
I never thought it would happen to me. I’ve spent a good portion of my life railing against this kind of activity—coming up with all the reasons—the aesthetic as well as the elitist—for why I should not participate. But now, it’s happened, thanks to an innocent request from my 10-year-old nephew, Judah, to watch with...
Yannis Toussulis
I conducted this interview with Yannis Toussulis about the role that phenomenology, both descriptive and hermeneutic, plays in clinical practice. It is the first in a series of conversations sponsored by PhenomenologyBlog. Yannis Toussulis received his PhD in Psychology from Saybrook Graduate School in 1995. His dissertation, supervised by Amedeo...
Eight years ago, I made the fateful leap from doctoral training into community mental health, jumping headfirst into a clinical internship at a hospital in one of Brooklyn’s most impoverished inner city neighborhoods. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into at first, although I knew it would be tough, and I knew it would be real...
Wisdom comes from the mouth of babes. It’s so true? There are few who do not love a children’s story. Why is it so? The older we get, the more opportunity we have to accumulate knowledge. Yet, wisdom points us back full circle to our young innocent selves. Ah, perhaps too much analysis will lead me further astray. I’ll simply...
A good friend of mine recently commented that she had always known I was bigger than my surroundings. This comment struck a chord with me in a much deeper way than it had before. I paused and reflected on my life, and recalled how, as a young woman, I was filled with self-doubt, lacked confidence, and had a very negative self-perception. I often...
Rollo May, in explicating the old-world existentialists that inspired him, wrote about the three worlds in which we find ourselves. When we encounter clients in therapy, we can encounter them in any of these three worlds. The first is the Umwelt. This is the world of objects, the physical space full of labels and concrete. This is where we find...