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The Existential Moment: Existential Givens—Death

A picture is worth a thousand words.  At Eternity’s Gate by Vincent van Gogh conveys the overwhelming weight of grief.  However, the title brings home the meaning of the work and, more surprisingly, the hope in the subject of the painting, death. Western art depicts death through numerous symbols and scenes:  skeletons, skulls, scythes, apocalyptic scenes, the superhuman, the demonic,

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The Existential Moment: The Cosmological

According to Existential-Humanistic Therapy theory, the fourth and final element of the Four Dimensions of Therapeutic Encounter is The Cosmological. In particular, four paradoxical givens comprise the Cosmological:  the wish to live and the inevitability of

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The Existential Moment: The Interpersonal Dimension

“That’ll do very well,” said Alice: “and ‘slithy’?” Alice, of course, is the iconic Lewis Carroll character in Through the Looking Glass. She is asking Humpty Dumpty to explain the nonsensical poem Jabberwocky. “Well, ‘slithy’ means ‘lithe and slimy.’ ‘Lithe’ is the same as ‘active.’ You see it’s like a portmanteau – there are two meanings packed up into one

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The Existential Moment: The Person of the Therapist

In the Oscar-winning film, Good Will Hunting, Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a brilliant, troubled young man with a traumatic past. After Will is arrested for attacking a police officer, MIT math professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard), who has taken Will under his wing as a math prodigy, negotiates with the court for leniency provided Will enters therapy with Sean

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The Existential Moment: The Person of the Client

“As part of this ceremony, women bake their heads in small ovens for about an hour.” This quote is from the article, “Body Ritual among the Nacirema,” published in The American Anthropologist in 1956. In the article, anthropologist Horace Miner describes the Nacirema, a people with a lifestyle centered on the obsessive belief that “the human body is ugly and…[the]

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