Author: Drake Spaeth

I Am, We Are, This Is Me: The Wounded Healer in Nature and Sacred Community


Janmot’s Poème de l’âme (13): Rayons de soleil. In my personal life beyond my work as a professor and a psychologist, I am blessed to be a member of two loving and healing spiritual communities that feel like a family and tribe, in a deeper sense than I could once have ever imagined. At the… Read more »

Existential Roundup


Welcome to the Existential Roundup, where we bring you links to some articles currently trending that may be of interest to those in the existential-humanistic psychology community. Now that summer has finally arrived, the urge to pull what my British colleagues call “a sickee” often comes upon us—that desire to take an unscheduled break from… Read more »

Found Sunglasses: Existential Elation and the Summer Solstice


The symbol for awen. I write this just after the Summer Solstice, and I am on FIRE. The heat of my excitement seems to come directly from the Sun in its annual prime. Varied, multi-hued, beautiful images—recognizably concrete or mercurially abstract—are bubbling up from the deep spring of my psyche, ideas like reflected glints of… Read more »

Just Walking Each Other Home: Nostalgia and Spiritual Longing


Last month, during the Society for Humanistic Psychology Conference at Sofia University, I had the honor of attending a presentation by Elizabeth Wolfson centering on creativity in midlife. Toward the beginning of her talk, Elizabeth posed the question, “What is nostalgia?” I responded with the first and truest answer that bubbled right up out of… Read more »

The Two-Way Mirror: Projection, Responsibility, and Connection


Here in Chicago, we have been experiencing the first tantalizing hints of spring after the coldest winter on record. I am giddy with excitement to see the tips of tiny daffodil shoots poking shyly through the soil. The weeping willows that line our yard have quite suddenly and boldly sported the yellow tone that heralds… Read more »

Tricksters in Play at the Vernal Equinox: The Art of Existential Embarrassment


Photo by Scott Sandars. Oh how I love to trick my students! Yes, you read that correctly. I take SUCH sublime delight in performing the role of playful psychopomp for them. In my Existential-Humanistic Psychotherapy course, I initiate them into the elusive art of crafting authentic healing relationships in therapy, inviting, and then daring them… Read more »

The Self, Nature, and the Dance of I and Thou


József Ferenczy’s “Round Dance” I have been thinking quite a lot lately about Abraham Maslow. I love to discuss with my students his theory of self-actualization and his hierarchy of needs. I often emphasize in class that like many stage or hierarchy models, the pyramid graphic may lend a false impression of uniform progression through—and… Read more »

Floating Shards of Ice: Insights from a Frozen Urban River


Photo by Drake Spaeth. During any active semester, my commuting routine every Monday through Thursday includes in part a brisk walk in the morning and again in the evening back and forth between Chicago’s Union Station and the Merchandise Mart, one of the buildings that houses The Chicago School of Professional Psychology where I teach…. Read more »

Searching for Sunglasses: Existential Depression and the Winter Solstice


Winter Solstice. Photo by Peter Trimming. I reside in the Chicagoland area of Illinois, where a deficiency of Vitamin D in the blood is a widespread medical condition. I am acutely aware of the encroaching brevity of daylight and the darkening of the year as I stand upon the threshold of the Winter Solstice. The… Read more »