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New Existentialists

The Value of Suicide Ideation

05/16/2012
The Value of Suicide Ideation
As a student, the clinics where I earned my hours had particular attitudes towards suicide ideation: it is bad and needs to be treated. Lately, I hear about an even more extreme posture from psychiatric institutions: namely, a person who reports suicide ideation cannot be discharged until they no longer report these thoughts. I have never used a safety contract, because there is no empirical evidence it is helpful for the client (although there is some empirical evidence it is helpful for liability purposes). I try to trust the people who come to me. Of course, I work with their safety...

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Interdisciplinary Inquiry

New Documentary: Rural Zambian women use film to tell their story

05/16/2012

Written by Jordan Roberts (March of the Penguins) and narrated by Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman, “Where the Water Meets the Sky” tells the inspiring story of a group of women in a remote region of Northern Zambia who achieve the unimaginable: they learn how to make a film as a way to speak out about their lives, raising an issue that no one will discuss – the plight of young women orphaned by AIDS.

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New Existentialists

Pain Without Suffering

05/15/2012
Pain Without Suffering
I’d like to share with you one of my finest supervision sessions. The session did not start off very promising for through parallel process, I was confronted with the same sense of helplessness as my student. However, in the midst of despair came inspiration and beauty that I would like to share with you. The student is doing his placement at a hospice and was asked to go see a female patient who was posed quite a challenge to the hospital staff. The patient was a mother who was suffering from bone cancer. She held on until the graduation of her first son from secondary school. She was...

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Mind-Body Medicine

College of Mind-Body Medicine Faculty Member Pursues Optimal Performance: Heather Dermyer, Ph.D.

05/15/2012
 
Imagine working full-time as a Clinical Psychologist, teaching Ethics for Saybrook University’s College of Mind-Body Medicine, and working at the United States Olympic Education Center (USOEC) with Olympic hopeful athletes on the Speed-skating, Weightlifting, Women’s Freestyle Wrestling, and Men’s Greco Roman Wrestling Teams.  Heather Dermyer rarely has a day off, yet she enjoys every minute of her busy and productive life. 
 
In addition to living a dynamic professional life, Heather is also dedicated to her own self-care.  At age 17 Heather suffered severe physical injuries from an accident that left her unable to walk.  After four and one half years of specialists, procedures, and physical therapy, the medical community told her there was nothing else that they could do for her pain. 

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New Existentialists

A Love Thing

05/14/2012
A Love Thing
It is one of those 4 A.M. nights and my “blog” time is up, so I might as well go with what is upon me. After all, isn’t a blog really just a diary gone public; everyone putting their two cents in for all the world to see? Just the word “blog,” can make me cringe, and I did resist this whole idea at first. Now, each time the month rolls around, I kick and procrastinate until I finally surrender. But in the end, I find that I learn something, however small, about myself and myself in life, and somehow I feel larger for it. I guess it’s Ronald Coleman who started the slide tonight. Or was it...

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Rethinking Complexity

Hope: Music of Kinshasa and the Cleveland National Forest

05/14/2012
Hope: Music of Kinshasa and the Cleveland National Forest
As I watched a rolling, twisting web of clouds press its way westward out of Southern California’s Imperial Valley towards where I stood in the San Diego foothills, I felt the rolling drumbeat in the thunder. It was there, just thrumming out over the Cleveland National Forest. Nearly regular in its faint booming, the thunder conjured memories of symphonic performances—powerful; towering; inspiring. As it moved closer even still, the winds evolved into strong breezes and added into the symphony the rasping growl of snares. What we call bad weather in Southern California is also...

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Rethinking Complexity

The Need for Organizational Learning is Now

05/11/2012
The Need for Organizational Learning is Now
In Kathia Laszlo’s May 2nd post, she spoke to the critical need to rethink and expand boundaries within a system to support different ways of working and learning together. The need to create organizational cultures where learning together is the norm has never been so important as it is during this time of increasing complexity and change. The major news story this week is JPMorgan Chase admitting big losses on egregious credit trades. The $2 billion loss was unexpected and CEO Jamie Dimon is now challenged to explain the result of the bank’s action in light of his stance on...

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New Existentialists

Defining Mental Disorder, DSM-5 Style

05/11/2012
Defining Mental Disorder, DSM-5 Style
What is a mental disorder? This is a question the American Psychiatric Association (2012) has been contemplating as it prepares the DSM-5, the soon-to-be-published revision of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The DSM-5 development website proposes the following new definition of mental disorder (APA, 2012): A. A behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual B. That reflects an underlying psychobiological dysfunction C. The consequences of which are clinically significant distress (e.g., a painful symptom) or disability (i.e.,...

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New Existentialists

Riding a Harley-Davidson—A “Vehicle” to Existential Joy?

05/10/2012
Riding a Harley-Davidson—A “Vehicle” to Existential Joy?
What relationship does the experience of riding Harley Davidson-Motorcycles have to existentialism? A first response may be “Nothing!” Riding a Harley is a leisure activity—it is not related to existentialist philosophy or psychology at all. Because I have conducted extensive research on the meaning of riding a Harley for those who own them, I wondered if there were any elements of the Harley Phenomenon that related to New Existentialism. Then I read Makenna Berry’s April 25th blog, “Considering Existential Joy”. Now Makenna may not have had the experience of riding a Harley in mind when...

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Rethinking Complexity

The Polarizing Effects of Avoiding Uncertainty

05/10/2012
The Polarizing Effects of Avoiding Uncertainty
The other day, National Public Radio published a story about partisan politics. According to insights offered by Dartmouth College political scientist Brendan Nyhan in the story, partisans tend to be partial to their political loyalties on a range of issues, side-stepping the facts. When remaining loyal requires them to change their views of the facts, "partisans seem willing to throw even consistency overboard," the article stated. Nyham and his colleagues are conducting research into the phenomena of partisans’ apparent willingness to ignore facts. They hypothesize that the...

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