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 Scott Kiser

Halloween is a curious cultural phenomenon isn’t it? Whatever else we may say about it, it is probably the most interesting and fascinating holiday from a psychological perspective, in terms of what it reveals concerning our collective psyche. On the surface level alone, we have plenty of reasons to pause, wonder, and speculate. Indeed, let’s...
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...
Photo by Serguey
As Americans, we pride ourselves on being fierce advocates for freedom, as well as national and individual independence. Historically, these have formed the foundation of our collective value system; generally speaking, they continue to function in this essential role, and our annual celebration of this fact is both necessary and inspiring. It...
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...
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...
As Easter approaches I find myself reflecting on the meaning of this holiday for our contemporary American culture, as well as how it may meaningfully intersect with the existentialist framework. Perhaps what should be acknowledged immediately is the basic fact that Easter is deeply embedded within the cultural fabric of our society as a national...
Simply stated, it is difficult to live intentionally in our frenzied, fast-paced, entertainment-driven culture. This is neither a wise statement nor a shocking revelation. Most of us are aware of this frustrating truth to some extent, whether it is perceived as deeply disturbing or as a relatively minor annoyance. However it is experienced, it is...
In the midst of holiday busyness, shopping, event planning, and family drama I wonder if many of us seriously consider the essential question that is always there underneath the frantic rush for parking spaces and torn wrapping paper…What is Christmas really all about? Given the current state of our American culture, I believe it is quite...
At this time of year I wonder how many Americans reflect very deeply, if at all, about the meaning of Thanksgiving. Of course, as a national holiday most of us likely have at least a vague understanding of it as a commemoration of the meal shared between the pilgrims and Native Americans. Beyond this, I’m sure that for many it provides a...
At the risk of sounding melodramatic and extremist, I want to suggest that our culture is currently facing a crisis of epidemic proportions regarding the extent to which personal responsibility has been exiled from our identity and character. America is not, on the whole, a nation of responsible individuals; America is predominantly a nation of...
As an existentialist I have a little problem in my life right now. The search for and experience of authentic self-identity and self-actualization are core existential values; those of us who embrace this tradition care deeply about becoming and being the individual human beings who we truly are and are meant to be. “Looking within,”...