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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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...
Photo by Miyuki Kobayashi
After surveying the room, my father leaned over the dining table and whispered to my sister and me, “I’m the youngest one here”. Then, he started crooning that lovely song from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, “Younger Than Springtime.” We had just moved our 88-year-old father into an assisted living facility. I stayed there with him for...
Crowds cheering Osama bin Laden's death.
We are a Christian nation. We say it; we believe it; we don’t think that much more about it. And all our un-Christ-like thoughts and impulses are denied, becoming daimonic. Stephen Diamond (1996) posited that thoughts and feelings left untended can grow to dominate the personality. The angry person who denies their anger stops noticing they are...

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