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

Last week, I bought a hat. For the record, I do not normally buy hats, nor do I normally shop in the kind of fancy one-of-a-kind SoHo boutiques in New York City where I bought this one. But my friend Carmen was visiting from Spain—her first trip to the United States—and saw the interesting collection of fabrics in the window and...
Unconditional love. Is it possible for humans—or even desirable? We sometimes talk about the idea of unconditional romantic love. This seems the least likely of all loves. Romantic love necessarily discriminates. You love him because of who he is. If he were transformed into a whole other person, you'd not love him any more—at...
Photo by Bill Nicholls.
I recently watched a Korean movie entitled 3-Iron. I am reliably informed that the original Korean title is Empty House, somewhat more evocative. The movie follows a young man who breaks into empty houses or apartments and lives in them for a day or two. While there, he repairs small appliances, does laundry, and generally leaves each place...
Every act of creation is also an act of destruction. The creation of something new and different, something that has not yet been, demands the destruction of the old and the typical, what is now and what has come before. The presence of destruction is at the core of the creative process itself. Our most serious difficulties with being creative as...
Cantigas de Santa Maria manuscript illustration.
In my previous role as a supervisor and training director, I often found my students repeating back to me the phrase that James Bugental taught about “listening to the music rather than the lyrics” when conducting therapy. Bugental had a nice way of putting it by teaching us to facilitate the clients “talking out of themselves...
Photo by NBC.
I never thought it would happen to me. I’ve spent a good portion of my life railing against this kind of activity—coming up with all the reasons—the aesthetic as well as the elitist—for why I should not participate. But now, it’s happened, thanks to an innocent request from my 10-year-old nephew, Judah, to watch with...
Recently, my husband and I enrolled in Senior Citizen’s Art Camp, sponsored by the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. It is a week-long, annual summer event offering instruction in various art forms including water color, acrylics and print making held at the Horticultural Center in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. My first thought when...
Jody Stephens performing with Chris Stamey.
“More important…is that aspect of beauty that transcends death. Beauty calls up in us the qualities that go beyond death, such as eternity, serenity, the use of the imagination to project us beyond time and space….” (May, 1985, p. 70) A few weeks ago, I found myself, as I occasionally do, going through a period of...
As the mother of two young children, I am much more aware of the new children’s movies that come out. Most recently, I took my kids to see The Croods, an animated film about a “cave family” facing the end of the world, as they know it. The movie is really quite good and addresses many existential themes but has one major flaw...
Wisdom comes from the mouth of babes. It’s so true? There are few who do not love a children’s story. Why is it so? The older we get, the more opportunity we have to accumulate knowledge. Yet, wisdom points us back full circle to our young innocent selves. Ah, perhaps too much analysis will lead me further astray. I’ll simply...
Merleau-Ponty (1993) wrote, “For the speaker no less than for the listener, language is definitely something other than a technique for ciphering or deciphering ready-made significations” (p. 80). He is ever insistent that being-in-the-world is an embodied event, an ongoing discovery, and he relentlessly examines the ways in which...
Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto.
Integrity is a suggestive, inarticulate word: its definition is hard to pin down. For most of my life, I’ve associated the word integrity with “character,” yet another evasive word with multiple meanings. I’ve thought of integrity as suggestive of morality, of the ability to stand up for what’s “right,” to...