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 Art and Existentialism

Change in all things is sweet. – Aristotle As existentialists, we respect the givens that we are born into a human body and that we die, and that everything in between is up for grabs. Finitude and change. I love how these two elements are so beautifully symbolized as one in the Death card in the Tarot. My first experience with the Tarot was...
Recently, my Human Development class arrived at the logical conclusion of the lifespan: death. Fitting that it comes last and we get to contemplate the finality of existence just before taking the final exam and parting ways forever. I don’t teach any higher-level courses at this school and so our association is ended here. It is doubly...
Photo by EconomicForum.
Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through. It is potential liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death.       --R. D. Laing I begin this writing shortly after learning of the unexpected death of John Forbes Nash, Jr. and his wife, Alicia. John Nash was a Nobel Prize winning mathematician...
Photo by John Creveling.
With modern technology and communication systems, we are bombarded 24/7 with images of tragedies and disasters. Some people I know refuse to watch the news because “real time” footage of natural disasters, wars, and people struggling to survive is too much to “take in.” They believe it is harmful to their immune system....
Photo by Julio Nohara.
Dostoevsky said that “beauty will save the world,” and I agree with him, although personally my declaration is “empathy will save the world,” for there is nothing more beautiful than true empathy. Empathy is the most powerful force for interpersonal healing and growth within our human existence. It is stronger than the many...
“It is an ancient Mariner, And he stoppeth one of three. “By thy long grey beard and glittering eye, Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?” Symbols and imagery educed from the subconscious can be interpreted within the therapeutic process. Existential, humanistic, and phenomenological approaches focus on conceptual, emotional and...
Miryam and Dad.
Dad, I would like to say a few words on this occasion of your 90th birthday. Tolstoy begins his great novel Anna Karenina with this famous opening line: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” A couple of sentences you could spend a lifetime pondering without quite figuring it out. Still, I think...
Just in case you value such things, spoiler alert. Although what I have to say shouldn't actually come as much of a surprise. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is an end-of-the-world movie in which the world actually ends. There are actually a number of complicated love stories in this romantic comedy about the end of times. In the...
Imagine facing the most challenging client on earth. It could be a rapist, murderer, or both in one. What about a serial killer? Do you think you could still uphold the humanistic-existential values, knowing the serial killer is a pathological liar, manipulative, and a sociopath who cruelly inflicted torture on his victims as subjects for...
Photo by Marion S. Trikosko.
I recently took my son to see Selma. There was no school because of the weather, so it seemed like a history lesson was in order. Oyelowo was brilliant as Martin Luther King, Jr.. A sensitive performance, nuanced. Fear in his eyes at just the right moment, to just the right degree. Not a film for the faint-hearted, at times brutal and shocking. My...
The world is changing. If you want to survive in the modern world, you have to be leaner, sharper, colder. You have to cut back on love and empathy and focus more on the bottom line. Don't get me wrong: I love your idealism. I just think you need to be more realistic. Look, so you've got this great mission and all, but look at it this way...
Photo by KUHT.
I loved Mr. Rogers as a kid—that avuncular, kindly, gently humorous man who could instill in me a desire to learn and become involved in civic endeavors better than any of my childhood teachers could. Now, with Fred Rogers shining in my memory, I work as a professor and a therapist. In the classroom, I strive to be spontaneous, creative, and...