On Friday, September 25, 2020, Existential Humanistic Northwest (EHNW) sponsored a workshop entitled, Aging or Eldering? A Powerful Shift to Understanding Human Life, presented by Nader Shabahangi, PhD., a licensed psychotherapist in California. Nader has been on the leading edge of working with elders through developing and maintaining elder care communities in the Bay area since 1995.
As Dr. Nader Shabahangi introduced the subject of eldering, he reminded us that there is no living without aging and no aging without living. In spite of our culture’s emphasis on youth, living and aging are inseparable.
Life expectancy has doubled in the last 100 years and with this change we need to develop new ideals, which Nader referred to as “elder values.” Elder values include slowing down, rethinking our attitude toward time, rushing less, paying attention to our surroundings, giving our full attention to each moment, listening deeply to others, interdependency and […]
By Beth Swain|2020-10-28T11:33:54-07:00October 13th, 2020|
On July 18th, Dave Fischer and I facilitated a salon focused on music, specifically lyrics and their connections to existential themes. The inspiration for the salon sprung from Dave’s life-long love of music and lyrics, and a desire to connect in these ways with others. The format of the salon allowed each of us who wanted to to come forward with meaningful lyrics and songs, and we engaged in a discussion around the significance that the songs held to each of us. It was an opportunity to share what has touched us, and the meaning that music holds in many of our lives.
One of the themes that arose was around the nature of sad songs being the most meaningful. Many of us shared a common draw toward music that, by nature, expresses feelings of longing, grief, and pain. Yet we shared in the sense that sad music often does not […]
By Gemma Baumer|2020-10-28T11:33:50-07:00October 13th, 2020|
Facilitated by: Daniel Parker, PhD. and Bob Edelstein, LMFT, MFT
Discovering one’s meaning was the theme of our recent salon. Unlike our usual format of meeting informally in someone’s home for our salon discussion, we met through Zoom due to COVID-19. Our facilitators, Daniel Parker, PhD and Bob Edelstein, LMFT, MFT, began our time together providing some background of the concept of meaning in Existential theory.
Daniel discussed the work of Viktor Frankl and his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” He asked what is this “search for meaning” for us? How did Frankl conceptualize meaning? He noted that when something in our life doesn’t fit well, we sense that something is missing, something essential is missing. We experience a void in our lives. We ask ourselves, “What am I living for, what am I doing this for?” To endure this suffering, what makes it worthwhile? What reason do I have to do this?
By Beth Swain|2020-10-28T11:34:03-07:00July 15th, 2020|
On June 12th, Carol Swanson, LCSW and practicing psychotherapist for over 30 years, led us through a powerful and relevant talk, “Responsivity in the Time of Covid”. Firstly, Carol framed the discussion by identifying the “aesthetics” of the therapeutic relationship. Namely, the qualities of rhythm and resonance, responsivity versus responding, and how these have shifted since Covid.
She opened up the discussion that our field is human emotional life and human suffering, and expressed the awareness that Covid has most harshly affected communities of color. Covid has made even more painfully clear what we’ve already known—the disparities and prejudices within our society, the very different experiences we lead. This may be an invisible virus, but George Floyd’s death was a very visible murder. So many of the issues our society faces has come to a head because of Covid. They have come even more into our awareness. Covid has interrupted how […]
On April 25th, Existential Humanist Northwest hosted its first ever web-based salon/webinar, with 149 signed up and represented by 3 different countries and many U.S. states. We gathered as a larger group than ever to discuss thoughts and feelings, hopes and fears related to this present world situation.
The salon topic was introduced by our president, Bob Edelstein, who shared some of his thoughts and reflections on this pandemic: Bob spoke to some of the existential themes of this time, and to his profound sense of being alive amidst this very real confrontation with mortality. In outlining his observations of existential themes, Bob identified three:
1. We are all interconnected. This Covid situation has impacted our whole world, sparking fear and with this, a need for collaboration. Bob shared how he hopes more people will see the value of interconnectedness. More than ever, we must collaborate to find the solutions, because there […]
On March 7th, Existential Humanist NW hosted its first ever Case Conceptualization Salon. The event was an informal conversation, hosted by Bob Edelstein, our president and founder. To preface the conceptualization, Bob led us through his own process and views toward conceptualizing a client, and how this looks, for him, from an EH perspective.
Firstly, Bob emphasized the nature of there being no one EH approach. Rather, how each of us conceptualizes varies because we vary as therapists, and as humans. Conceptualization involves being open to how each unique person exists in the world, and honors those differences. As such, this process will look differently for each of us.
Bob also spoke to the importance of conceptualizing lightly. This is because the emphasis is put on openness to another individual’s human experience, rather than on any agenda. One participant spoke of this as viewing the process as being like being a “stranger […]