Woody Allen's Existentialism 101: 'Irrational Man' Review

Whether he publicly acknowledges it or not, Irrational Man, the intriguing title of Woody Allen's new film, was one of my required texts (William Barrett, 1962) back in a freshman philosophy course I took on existentialism several lifetimes ago.

Secrets of Psychotherapy: Ten Ways to Help You Be Happy (#3)

What can different types of psychotherapy tell us about living a happier life?

Secrets of Psychotherapy: Ten Ways to Be More Happy (Pt. 2)

What can different psychotherapies tell us about living happier lives?

Secrets of Psychotherapy: Ten Ways to Help You Be Happy

What can different types of psychotherapy tell us about living a happier life?

Suicide or Mass Murder? : The Deliberate Downing of Flt 9525

What motivates suicidal mass killings like the deliberate downing of Germanwings Flt. 9525?

The Depravity of Violence: Responding to Radical Evil

Evil is much more than a theological or philosophical problem. It is primarily a psychological phenomenon and an existential fact of life. Nowhere is this demonstrated more clearly today than in the most recent series of videotaped executions by beheading and now, in the case of the coalition's captured Jordanian fighter pilot, being burned alive in a cage.

The Mysterious Demise of Mr. Mojo Risin'

What was Jim Morrison's state of mind at the time he died of an apparent drug and alcohol overdose in Paris? Existentialist Friedrich Nietzsche was his favorite philosopher. Had Morrison succumbed to nihilism and clinical despair?

Je Suis Charlie: Courage, Commitment and the Cost of Freedom

It is easy for Americans and French citizens to take our freedom for granted. But these violent attacks remind all of us that freedom is something precious and precarious, and that it takes great courage and commitment to affirm and maintain it. This is an existential truism not only for nations or cultures, but for patients in psychotherapy too.

Keeping Your Balance: Surviving the Hectic Holiday Season

Now that the holiday season is here, it's important to try to keep things in balance psychologically. Sure, this festive time of year is an extravert's dream: constant socializing, parties, travel, etc. On the other hand, it can be an introverted type's nightmare for exactly the same reasons.

How Mad was Hitler?

What do we really know about Hitler's personality? Today, in a troubled world of political and religious leaders like the late Osama bin Laden, messianic ISIS chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, and enigmatic North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, it is more important than ever to understand the underlying psychology of such dangerous individuals.

What My 10 Most Popular Posts Say About You

I thought it might be interesting to take a retrospective look at my top ten all time most popular posts since starting to write for Psychology Today six years ago, and what, if anything, the survey might tell us--at least about my particular readership, if not most readers of PT blogs.

The Psychology of Terrorists (Pt. 3): The Messiah Syndrome

As stated in my previous post, I view Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, like his predecessor Osama bin Laden, as a religious fundamentalist cult leader with a major messiah complex. But what exactly is a "messiah complex"?

The Psychology of Terrorists (Pt. 2): The Messiah Complex

What motivates terrorist leaders like Osama Bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed head of ISIS? Clearly, the answer to such a question is complex, and varies to some extent from person to person. However, like the late bin Laden, al-Baghdadi seems to be exhibiting some sort of messiah complex.

The Psychology of Terrorists (Pt. 1) : Radical Embitterment

Recent terrorist acts reminded me of my previous postings here several years ago, in which I discussed the psychology of terrorists and their motivations, both conscious and unconscious. It seems timely to revisit these posts (Parts 1 and 2) today, with an eye toward how they might apply to the phenomenon of ISIS, an even more virulent and violent strain of Al-Qaeda.

Beauty, Evil and Death in Venice, Part 2

Existential psychotherapy is distinguished from most treatment approaches today by its confrontation of life's ultimate concerns, including the phenomena of evil and death.

Sex, Madness and Mass Murder in Santa Barbara

Like so many other mass murderers, Elliot Rodger sought retribution and revenge for what he perceived as personal slights, injustice, and life's unfairness. He was motivated by frustration, anger, rage, resentment, embitterment, hatred and the desire to get even. For Rodger, a main source of frustration was reportedly his failure with women.

The Psychology of Sexuality

Sexuality is part of what makes us human. Naturally, its fundamental function is to propagate the species. But, obviously, sex goes far beyond the powerful evolutionary instinct to procreate.

Man's Search for Meaning and the Mystery of Flight 370

What really happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?

Let's Talk About Loneliness: Alienation in a Linked Up Age

Feeling alone or lonely? Join the club.

Scrooge Syndrome:Trauma, Embitterment and Spiritual Renewal

Whether one is religious or not, this is surely a season of spiritual renewal. Of hope and rebirth. Trauma, embitterment, transcendence and spiritual renewal is the central theme of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Holiday Self-Help: Maintaining Your Emotional Equilibrium

This festive time of year is an extravert's dream: constant socializing, parties, travel, etc. On the other hand, it can be an introverted type's nightmare for exactly same reason. But even extraverts can get too much of a good thing. Whether you are an introverted or extraverted type, balance is the key to maintaining your psychological and emotional equilibrium.

Why Did Lee Harvey Oswald Kill John Fitzgerald Kennedy?

Who was Lee Harvey Oswald? And why did he kill JFK?

Catastrophe in the Philippines: Coping with Cosmic Evil

What are the psychological effects of massive natural disasters like the recent devastating typhoon in the Philippines? And how can psychology and religion help?

The Psychology of Neurotic Romantic Attraction

Are you repeatedly attracted to unavailable romantic partners? You could be suffering from an unconscious "repetition compulsion."

Celebrating National Psychotherapy Day—Again!

In honor of National Psychotherapy Day this past Wednesday, here is the last of five pieces over five days in a series of previously published posts on the theory and practice of psychotherapy, in effect, extending National Psychotherapy Day into National Psychotherapy Week here at Psychology Today. Hope you enjoyed!

Celebrating National Psychotherapy Day—Again!

September 25th, 2013, marked the second celebration of National Psychotherapy Day. In honor of National Psychotherapy Day, I continue posting a series of five previously published pieces on the practice of psychotherapy, in effect, extending National Psychotherapy Day into National Psychotherapy Week here at Psychology Today. Here is post #4.

Celebrating National Psychotherapy Day—Again!

Today, Wednesday, September 25th, 2013, marks the second celebration of National Psychotherapy Day!

Celebrating National Psychotherapy Day—Again!

In honor of National Psychotherapy Day this Wednesday, I will be posting a series of previously published pieces on the theory and practice of psychotherapy. A different posting each day this week, Monday through Friday, in effect, extending National Psychotherapy Day into National Psychotherapy Week here at Psychology Today. Here is the second posting. Hope you enjoy!

Celebrating National Psychotherapy Day—Again!

In honor of National Psychotherapy Day, I am re-posting a series of previously published pieces on the theory and practice of psychotherapy. A different posting each day this week, Monday through Friday, in effect, extending National Psychotherapy Day into National Psychotherapy Week here at Psychology Today. To kick things off, here is the first post of the series.

Beauty, Evil and Death in Venice: A Midsummer's Meditation

Last Saturday evening, as the brilliant Southern California sun descended slowly into the Pacific Ocean, with throngs of vacationing tourists and lively locals out enjoying the natural beauty and cultural color of Venice Beach on a warm midsummer's night, evil reared its ugly head.

Pages