[The Clinic] : The Creative Life

At a time when the goals of therapy are often presented as “management of one’s symptoms,” “greater control over one’s emotions / becoming less emotional,” or simply “being more objective,” it seems imperative to draw attention to the ways such “goals” both fail the patient and betray the radically transformative power of good psychotherapy. The point of therapy should not be to instill an ever-vigilant internal micromanager that must monitor and squelch every “bad” thought or “wrong” emotion. A successful psychoanalysis should, instead, aim for a working through of symptoms such that there is nothing left to “manage,” thus freeing up the patient to more effectively attune to their own inner voice and engage in creative life.

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[Expansion] : Rethinking "Reality" - Ethical Care with Dementia

In our often absurd insistence that there be only “one reality,” so much is foreclosed. This beautifully-written article about dementia and how we care for those with the disease challenges us to question our attachment to our idea of “reality” and perhaps to even see how broadening it can be the most generous and ethical thing we can do for those experiencing it differently.

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Julie L. Futrell
[Expansion] : (Works Broadening Our Narrow Psychological Lens): Ecological Grief

Good read that encourages us to critically think about how the world around us impacts well-being. Depression is not something isolated to the individual mind or reducible to simple biology. Explore alternatives.

“Ecological grief reminds us that climate change is not just some abstract scientific concept or a distant environmental problem. Rather, it draws our attention to the personally experienced emotional and psychological losses suffered when there are changes or deaths in the natural world. In doing so, ecological grief also illuminates the ways in which more-than-humans are integral to our mental wellness, our communities, our cultures, and for our ability to thrive in a human-dominated world.”

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[The Clinic] : The Problem(s) with the Disease Model of Depression (or STOP MEDICALIZING HUMAN DISTRESS)

As I sort through the media coverage of the suicide deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I find myself angered and baffled by the reduction of complex human distress to "mental illness" or the "disease of depression." My argument isn't with the term "depression," but rather how depression is taken up and the shoddy science that falsely claims depression as a biological "disease."

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Julie L. Futrell
[The Clinic] : The Myth of Individual Pathology (Or the Social Conditions for a Flourishing Narcissism)

Thus, on a cultural level, nostalgic calls for a “return” to what once was and to “make America great again” point to a lack of opportunity in our social fabric for meaningful work and relationships. People feel disenfranchised and alienated, and there is thus a sort of cultural narcissism that occurs because the very things that allow for an overcoming of such narcissism are no longer readily available to us. People feel distant from one another as our sense of community and solidarity has faltered and work often feels ungratifying as we are divorced further and further from the products of our labor. We have lost connection to one another and to our own creativity through work.

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[Critical Culture] : Why DT's Mental Health Diagnosis Doesn't Matter

A week of unnerving events has brought the question of Donald Trump’s mental health front and center (again), prompting many in the media to openly question the reticence of both journalists and mental health professionals to speak candidly about what the public is currently witnessing. As is by now widely known, mental health professionals are discouraged from diagnosing public figures they have not evaluated largely due to the highly personal nature of psychiatric diagnoses. However, as Trump’s behaviors grow increasingly bizarre and erratic and new allegations continue to emerge, the desire to nail down a concrete psychiatric diagnosis grows more pronounced and people are looking to mental health authorities for answers.

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[Academic Excursions] : Men

Under the contemporary “rules,” men are limited to playing certain roles that constrict their emotional lives and thus inhibit their freedom to explore and embody all that is available. Many male stereotypes are hardly favorable or admirable, leaving one to wonder why anyone would be keen to identify with them. Indeed, it is often the case that many men actually do not identify with them and find themselves slightly adrift and askew in a world that tends to all-too-often be invested in nostalgia and freezing things in place. Such freezing allows nothing to move and no one to change.  Traditional, anthropomorphized ideas of “masculinity” and “femininity” create categories that do not allow for individuality and that disallow for those things that resist the neatness of such categorization. It is not only womxn who suffer the effects of the repression of the feminine...

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[Academic Excursions] : Womxn

Historically, a womxn’s identity has been derived from her relationship to others and to her functional role rather than her independent being. She was (is) someone’s wife or someone’s mother. She is a good housekeeper, a good cook, a good lover. She is a caretaker, a nurturer. Though we like to think the days have long past when womxn were measured by how clean a house they kept, we only have to look to the anxiety expressed by working womxn today over whether they are successfully navigating both worlds to see such measuring still firmly intact.

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[Academic Excursions] : Re / Envisioning The Feminine For All

When we think of the terms “masculine” and “feminine,” traits readily come to mind that we often believe to be “true”--true meaning here that one is born this way and that such traits derive from one’s biology and genetics. From before birth, we are inundated with the idea that people born with penises are masculine, and those born with a vagina are feminine. To name but just a few of the “truths” that go along with such a worldview: Men (in all their tremendous masculinity) are said to be more logical, less emotional, better at math and science, poor communicators, and more sexual (due to the need to “spread their biological seed"). Womxn (in all their lilting femininity) are more emotional, less logical and analytical (due to their exorbitant emotions), better communicators, more creative, and less overtly sexual than their male counterparts.

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