Phenomenological Psychology

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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 […]


Critique of Anne Wilson and Michael Ross on Autobiographical Memory

December 17th, 2010 · 1 Comment ·

In this note I review Wilson and Ross (2003). I critique Wilson and Ross in light of Arbuthnott, Arbuthnott and Thompson (2006); Schacter (1996); and Bechara, Tranel, Damasio, Adolphs, Rockland and Damasio (1995). I then attempt to discern if there is a role in Wilson and Ross’ schematic for attachment theory as developed by Ainsworth […]

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Emotional Networks in the Brain

October 13th, 2010 · 1 Comment ·

Review of LeDoux, J. & Phelps, E. (2008).  Emotional networks in the brain.  In M. Lewis, J. Haviland-Jones & L. Barrett (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (pp. 159 – 179).  New York, NY: Guilford Press. Summary of the Article In this article, LeDoux and Phelps (2008) review the current state of research into neural and anatomical […]

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The Identity Function of Autobiographical Memory

October 13th, 2010 · 1 Comment ·

One of the most curious aspects of cognitive psychology is its almost-complete disconnect with philosophy of mind, an academic discipline that has developed since Aristotle and, in modern times, since Descartes.  This neglect is a two-way street; just as cognitive psychology ignores philosophy of mind, so philosophy of mind ignores cognitive psychology, even as they […]

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Philosophical Existentialism v. Existential Psychoanalysis

October 10th, 2010 · 4 Comments ·

There is a sharp distinction between what might be called “philosophical existentialism” on the one hand, and “existential psychoanalysis” or “therapeutic existentialism” on the other.  The former is a surprisingly specific and narrow reaction to the German idealism of the 18th century.  The latter is a method of psychological analysis. A. Philosophical Existentialism 1. Absolute […]


DSM-IV-TR Hypotheticals – Questions and Answers

June 10th, 2010 · 1 Comment ·

A 29-year-old single woman presents for psychotherapy.  She states she has been under stress due to a chaotic work environment, which sometimes prevents her from finishing her work.  She says she is experiencing insomnia, fatigue and irritability, feels overwhelmed and “can’t enjoy anything.”  She adds she has withdrawn from family and friends and sometimes feels […]

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Psychologist Ethics – Questions and Answers

June 10th, 2010 · 3 Comments ·

1.            Dr. Z. is a licensed psychologist in private practice.  He is approached by his ex-wife’s friend who wants to see him for psychotherapy.   Discuss whether it would be ethical for Dr. Z. to accept this person as a patient. ANSWER:            Dubious and depends on whether Dr. Z. will be able to use independent judgment.  […]


A Spatial Needs Assessment of Indigent Acute Psychiatric Discharges in California

June 10th, 2010 · No Comments ·

Review of Banta, J., Wiafe, S., Soret, S. & Holzer, C. (2008).  “A Spatial Needs Assessment of Indigent Acute Psychiatric Discharges in California.”  J. Behavioral Health Services and Research, 35(2), 1556 – 3308. California’s basic mental health law is the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (the “Act”), Cal. Welfare & Institutions C. §5000 et seq. A person may be […]

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