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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Some of my greatest teachers and greatest inspirations as an existential psychologist and professor have been my students. Although it has become cliché to say that teachers learn from their students, I hope to speak to this as a personal experience that comes alive beyond the cliché. When I speak of students, particular students come to mind,...
Illustration from Balzac's 1842 A Bachelor's Establishment.
Our understanding of psychotherapy has traditionally focused on the interplay between theory and technique. In practice, however, as is often the case, a gap emerges between these two concepts. The persistence of such a gap suggests our conventional schema for understanding the practice of psychotherapy may be obscuring a more basic and immediate...
The students who put this question to me are usually taking their first course in phenomenological or hermeneutic (narrative) research. And in a way, I feel for them, because many of them didn’t expect to be facing something called “epistemology,” and bumping into any number of arcane Greek terms that seem to bear no relationship to the...
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...
Lava on the Big Island. Photo by Atelier Joly.
“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” -- William Shakespeare As the pilot gently lifted the plane into the dirty white sky settling over the island’s western coast, I put my head back, closed my eyes, and reflected on the past six days. They were days of triumph and tragedy, of beauty and banality, of chaos and calm, of dreams and...

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