Tag: Key Concepts

The Psychology of Altruism: An Urgent Quest of Humanistic Psychology


Photo by Ed Yourdon. On a globe that daily witnesses countless acts of conflict both large and small, our human capacity for altruism seems more important than ever. Not surprisingly, psychologists today are increasingly interested in understanding this vital care-giving phenomenon, certainly with the hope that such knowledge will lead to a more harmonious humanity…. Read more »

Control: This Chimera We Keep Chasing


Two thousand years ago, Epictetus (135 C.E.), the Greek sage and philosopher, articulated very well what I gather to be one of life’s most profound—and somewhat obvious—truths. “Some things we can control, some we cannot.” To learn the difference between the two, is of great value, he says, because preoccupying ourselves with the things that… Read more »

Ethical Principles of Existential Psychotherapy: An Exploration


Photo by Alexander Buschorn. As the National Institute of Mental Health jettisons the DSM-5, I find myself pondering the “science” of psychology and its relationship to existentially oriented clinical practice. One must concede psychology’s woefully dubious track record: from phrenology and Mesmerism to prejudiced intelligence testing and pathologization of sexual orientation. Cause for suspicion abounds…. Read more »

Unconditional Love


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 least,… Read more »

Comfort Food: In Memory of Nora Ephron (1941-2012)


When we think about providing comfort to others and ourselves our first thought may not be about food. Yet, in many societies, it is customary to take a meal to people when they need support, are sick, or when someone dies. It is a way of helping people in trouble sustain themselves when the last… Read more »

What About Meaning?


Several writers have presented exciting new ideas for classifying and diagnosing human problems. Peter Kinderman, for instance, has proposed a “problem list and formulation” approach in which clinicians list however many presenting problems a client brings to session. Jeffrey Rubin has put forward ideas for a “Classification and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Concerns,” shifting… Read more »

Time as a Resource: Because Sometimes We Actually Have Time


Photo Illustration by Craig Sunter. A friend recently asked me for some support regarding a personal issue. I was limited with my time to give help immediately, but I wanted to offer something of value to this person. I could identify with her distress. She was faced with what seemed like the need to make… Read more »