Phenomenological Psychology

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Western Behavioral Sciences Institute, Carl Rogers, and the Great La Jolla Love-In

August 5th, 2012 · 2 Comments ·

My parents still live in the same house in La Jolla we moved to in 1963.  When I was in high school I started working on a psychology project and, since it was a time when I knew no limitations, I decided to interview Carl Rogers about it.  Rogers then was associated with the Western […]


Is Psychology an Empirical Science?

October 14th, 2011 · 2 Comments ·

The answer is “yes,” although it is different from physics and chemistry, and historically there has been considerable confusion surrounding this issue.  In 1948 Carl Hempel and Paul Oppenheim formulated what they called the “deductive nomological model” of scientific explanation (Hempel & Oppenheim, 1948).  A deductive nomological model is one in which a single event […]


Free Will and the 9.11 Hijackers

October 14th, 2011 · 1 Comment ·

The “problem of free will” has vexed psychologists and philosophers for centuries.  In this note I will discuss it briefly and apply it to the dreadful events of 9.11.  Free will presents as a problem because of the apparent tension between determinism and choice.  “Determinism” means one can cite causally sufficient antecedent conditions to explain […]

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Charles Darwin and the “New Darwinists”

October 14th, 2011 · 1 Comment ·

I recently was stimulated to re-read Darwin’s two greatest works, which are On the Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871).  Without diminishing their importance, Darwin is pervasive in a way that philosophers (Socrates, Plato) or psychologists (James, Hall, Skinner, Freud, Rogers, and Sullivan) aren’t.  Philosophy primarily is speculative and classical psychology […]

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Clinical Impression – A Smart but Acutely Suicidal Adolescent Girl

June 7th, 2011 · 2 Comments ·

Last week I received a call from a leading psychiatrist.  The daughter of one of his friends was in extreme psychological distress.  While writing a 5585 hold was (and remained) a last-ditch possibility, for various reasons both the psychiatrist and the girl’s parents preferred for her to admit herself voluntarily to a locked, acute care […]


Metaphors in Psychology

June 5th, 2011 · 1 Comment ·

People have used metaphors for as long as they have spoken language.  In Expression and Meaning (1985) the Berkeley philosopher John Searle defines metaphor as a species of “as if” discourse: “the utterance of an expression with its literal meaning and corresponding set of truth conditions can, in various ways that are specific to metaphor, […]

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Remarks to a Class of Undergraduate Nursing Students Upon Completing a Day in Group at an Acute Care Psychiatric Facility

April 11th, 2011 · No Comments ·

I gave the following brief remarks this afternoon to a class of a dozen student nurses at an acute care psychiatric facility: We rotated four of you for each of three group sessions today.  I would like to thank you for coming, and for attending carefully to what as going on.  This group was in […]

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Case Study – the Demonic and the Angelic

April 6th, 2011 · No Comments ·

When leading groups, occasionally, one comes across a patient who is so interesting, or peculiar, or unusual, that the clinician literally is compelled to write a brief case study.  Such is the case with patient D. (name and all identifying data changed).  She is an English-speaking Caucasian female.  Although she kept changing her date of […]

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What Is the Difference between Skepticism and Nihilism?

March 28th, 2011 · 6 Comments ·

These two concepts frequently are confused.  Here are definitions: Skepticism is a critical attitude, orientation or outlook towards a proposition or a thesis.  It typically is characterized by doubt about, or at least dubiousness towards, its substantive truth value.  As such, it is an epistemological stance, not an ontological one.  The proposition or thesis actually […]


Does Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder) Really Exist?

February 10th, 2011 · 5 Comments ·

The symptoms of dissociative identity disorder (DID) now are set forth at DSM-IV-TR §300.14. It requires “The presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states (each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self) and “At least two of these identities or personality states […]