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 Self-Actualization

I am a single woman who is entering midlife. I am a therapist and a poet. I am also a woman who is struggling with a drive for internal freedom, external connection, a shift in the manifestation of my masculine and feminine energies, and a strong desire to explore what my innermost being needs to be happy versus the prescriptions of happiness that...
Photo by Ray Nata.
The final scene of the film Flight takes place in a prison yard around a picnic table. Will has come to visit his father, Captain “Whip” Whitaker. The Captain is thrilled that his son is visiting and greets him enthusiastically, after some small talk the following exchange takes place: WILL:    My college counselor...
From the 1843 edition of A Christmas Carol.
Holiday time in the United States means lots of things to lots of people, but for movie buffs (aka cinema aficionados, film snobs, and DVR space hogs) like me it means the return of the classic Christmas movies. And also the classic Christmas specials—the cartoons and Claymation rank right up there for me. Many people quickly dismiss these...
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...
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...
While a human being’s life certainly involves an extensive range of essential, defining characteristics, it seems to me that, without oversimplifying such a complex question, it is most significantly characterized by two processes that are distinct yet inseparable—the search for personal identity and the development of meaningful relationships...
If we accept an existential perspective, we probably also accept the premise that reality is subjective--that everything we perceive comes through the lenses of our experiences and senses, rather than as some ideal Platonic forms.   In a new essay now available to the New Existentialists' library, Daniel B. Pitchford and Jeannine A....
When I consider the relationship between fatherhood and the existentialist framework, I am confronted with a disturbing realization. One of the most central and important existentialist principles, for me, is self-actualization; however, my initial tendency is not to relate this essential dynamic to my identity as a father. The question that...
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...
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...
Existential joy is the moment of exaltation in which we are at one with the world and conscious of our being in a kind of illumination that carries a deep conviction with it. This is a state of being that many people seek to experience in their lives. If we cannot have it all of the time, we at least want that sensation coursing through us most of...
Years of working with adults with developmental disabilities have left me with questions regarding the meaning and meaningfulness of the lives of people who experience high levels of mental retardation. I mean something different here from purpose.  What a divine entity might mean for these people must remain a question beyond my ability to...