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 Social Activism

How often do we hear that phrase—“I didn’t want to get involved”? The reasons are always excellent—“I was way too busy,” “I had problems of my own,” “I had too much on my plate,” “It wasn’t my business,” or the piece de resistance, “Someone else will take...
Erik Werenskiold's The Funeral (1883-85).
Much in the way that some families only see each other at funerals, America only seems to have a conversation about mental health when somebody dies. These are the worst times to have such a conversation, because the needs of the survivors are at odds with the needs of a “national discussion about” anything. The result is a kind of...
My friends didn't believe in giving money to homeless people. But I couldn't escape the notion that I should be doing something. It was Shanghai in maybe 2009 or 10. Wealth was everywhere, crazy wealth. In Hong Kong, we had walked through an indoor mall for three hours. It seemed endless. Commerce was alive and well. People had money, no...
Photo by Nicholas Gemini.
The Amazing Spiderman sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy. Captain America, Winter Soldier. This summer will be replete with superhero movies on the big screen. Sales of books, cartoons and videos, action figures and other toys, continues apace. What is it about the superhero that enthralls us? In some ways, superheroes keep pace with the times....
I was sitting on the couch grading papers with the TV on in the background. So much of my writing starts this way I might one day write about that, but not today. What tends to be on in the background is sci-fi, generally bad sci-fi, because I just want the background noise rather than engagement. Today, I accidentally watched good science fiction...
Photo by Mike Kalasnik.
In a previous issue, I noted that for-profit, corporate motives have infiltrated our public education system, resulting in the same sorts of power structures at community colleges as at Wal-Mart or at for-profit schools. In other words, we depend increasingly on part-time labor whom we can deny benefits or fair pay while compensating the top...
The world is full of partisan arguments these days. I watch them on Facebook, hear them in classrooms and hallways. Maybe people are more involved in politics than before, maybe it's just become a team sport in which only the most hardcore fans actually go out and vote for their team. But I hear this line, and it makes me wonder: I'm a...
Photo by Alex Proimos.
Western thinking has done an incredible job of convoluting success. As a society, we have come to accept the idea that success is limited to those who finish first. If you did not win the gold medal, or make the most money, or have the best grades, you are not successful. In fact, as a society, we have accepted the norm that anyone who does not...
In Judaism, there is a concept of social action called Tikkun Olam—repairing or healing the world. There are millions of large and small ways to do Tikkun Olam—from working in soup kitchens to volunteering in African refugee zones to recycling your trash. Two of my first tutors in existential psychotherapy in England, Mary Sullivan and...
Colours of Diversity Mural in Singapore.
“We don’t need to talk about diversity; we’ve got that covered.” Whenever I hear these or similar words, I immediately am skeptical and on guard. In fact, I would say that statements of this sentiment are among the most common microaggressions in contemporary culture. When it comes to diversity, we never have it covered; it...
I am a worried man. I worry mostly about things far outside of my own control—like climate change, racism, wealth inequality, the dismantling of our democracy. People get the impression I am an unhappy person. They try to cheer me up. Make a list of positive things in your life, they say, or listen to happy music, or hug your kid. Really,...
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...