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 Psychology and Spirituality

Photo by NASA/SDO.
This essay is the first of two, comprising an article that will be concluded in my next contribution to the New Existentialists. In my Existential-Humanistic Psychotherapy courses, upon encountering concepts of existential philosophy and psychology for the first time, some of my more religious students become ensnared in and troubled by their...
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...
“Life ceases to be problematic when it is understood that the ego is a social fiction.” -- Watts, 1961, pp. 95-96 Because the general orientation of Western psychology has been toward the observation, categorization, and alteration of observable behavior, this has led to a therapeutic attitude limited to the diagnosis and treatment of...
Last week a strange thing happened on Facebook. I had a request for a friend to be tagged on an old picture in Facebook. I knew this friend was not on my list of friends, and had not been on Facebook for a long time. I had called but her number was out of order. Her picture was one I had posted a while ago when I discovered it, so I approved the...
Autism and small babies were never considered before creating the weekly practice of sitting quietly to pray in church. You can tell today, Palm Sunday, is one of the year’s longest by the volume and activity level of children under the age of five as the time exceeds the one hour mark. I sat in church, straining to hear the music and the...
Artwork by By Jitka Anlaufová.
“It’s all in your head. You just don’t know how big your head really is.” --Lon Milo DuQuette I write this essay two days before the start of the Eighth Annual Conference of the Society for Humanistic Psychology (APA Division 32), held this year at the school where I teach. I have spent most of the day stuffing manila...
My husband insists we have a traditional IRISH meal for St. Patrick’s Day. Contrary to popular belief, this does not involve green beer, corned beef, or boiled potatoes. He plans to cook bacon (Americans call this ham) and mashed potatoes with cabbage. He will proudly wear his Irish shirt, don the leprechaun hat, and share the luck of the...
I have a confession to make. (Not surprising, since Catholics seem to be pretty good at spilling our guts all over the confessional room floor.) This Sunday was a lesson in empathy for me, and it came in a very odd way. I learned to have empathy for others and listen to my conscience from an unlikely source: Atheists and lapsed Catholics. For the...
Photo by Lanaré Sévi.
Listening to the Gospel Sunday was a difficult experience. I had an adolescent girl on hormones. Concentration was made more challenging when my pubescent daughter began crying because her socks did not match her dress. Unlike Jesus, my daughter does not wear white, as it becomes an invitation for her clothes to be used as a canvas with chocolate...
In Chicago, as is usual for this time of year, winter’s clutch is still a tight fist. Yet, the blue of the sky is creeping into the jewel tones. This very morning I caught with deep satisfaction my first glimpse of a flock of wild geese arrowing unerringly and urgently northward toward their home, the location of which was known clearly only...
When did giving up something for Lent turn into something self-serving? As a child, it was drilled into me through my Catholic upbringing that Lent was about giving up something valuable to us, so that we may appreciate the sacrifices of Christ during his 40 days and nights in the desert. So we would abstain from chocolate or candy, or give our...
Photo by Erik Charlton.
Today’s The New York Times bore out some sad news, at least to me. Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and author of Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, announced he has terminal liver cancer (Sacks, 2015). In his announcement, he followed the lead of his favorite philosopher, David Hume, in the examination of his life. Even in...