Existential Issues

Experts at Home – Drs. Jeff Greenberg & Sheldon Solomon on Terror Management Theory

Join two of the founders of Terror Management Theory, Drs. Jeff Greenberg and Sheldon Solomon, for a conversation with Dr. Lisa Firestone on how fear of our own mortality is currently affecting all humans in the midst of global crisis.   Subscribe to PsychAlive (it’s free!) to see more Experts at Home.  

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Can Secure Attachment Make Us Less Afraid During the Coronavirus Crisis?

Last night I woke up from a deep sleep in a panic about the possibility of getting the Coronavirus, despite my precautions and social distancing. I tried a mindfulness practice for a few minutes and that did help calm me down. Then my thoughts turned to some of the young children I’ve worked with as… Read more »

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Death Anxiety and the Coronavirus

The ultimate tragedy of the human condition is our awareness of our inevitable mortality. Each person is born with a death sentence. The developing child initially discovers the traumatic reality that their parents will die and later that they themselves will eventually die. This reality is too terrifying to tolerate, so the child must resort… Read more »

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Paying Attention to Your Mental Health

These trying times are hard on us psychologically! With the focus on the very real threat of the Coronavirus to our physical health, it is easy to overlook the impact that this pandemic is having on our mental health. The virus and our necessary response to it are creating two of the emotional conditions that… Read more »

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Losing Kobe: Why We Experience Grief and Sadness for People We’ve Never Met

When my oldest son called to share the devastating news with us, my mind wandered to memories of Lakers games we’d taken him to in Bakersfield, L.A., and Charlotte. At the time, we were ‘Californians’ and a trip to the Staples Center was quality family weekend time. Kobe was always there.  My youngest, a California… Read more »

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Living while dying – Notes from the resistance

“It’s precisely because we’re finite that life is so sweet.” – Sheldon Solomon Last month I got the opportunity to meet Ady Barkan, a progressive activist who’s become one of the most powerful voices in the fight to move the United States to a universal healthcare system, sometimes dubbed “Medicare for All”.  The meeting took place at… Read more »

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The Origin of Polarization, Prejudice, and Warfare

One of the most significant contributions of my theoretical approach, Separation Theory, is that it offers an understanding of the core dynamics underlying human aggression. It explains how people’s defensive nature and dependency on fantasy bonds polarize them against others with different customs and beliefs. In a similar vein, Schneider’s (2013) concept of “psychological polarization” describes the elevation of one… Read more »

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An Overview of Separation Theory

Separation Theory integrates psychoanalytic and existential systems of thought by showing how early interpersonal pain, and separation anxiety and later death anxiety lead to the development of powerful psychological defenses. These defenses attempt to cope with and minimize painful experiences and emotions suffered in one’s developmental years but later predispose limitations and maladaptation in adult… Read more »

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6 Major Influences that Stop You from Becoming Your True Self

To be nobody but yourself in a world that is doing its best, day and night, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~ e.e. cummings Each individual faces a struggle against powerful odds to retain a unique selfhood and personal… Read more »

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Factors that Increase or Suppress Death Anxiety

Death anxiety encompasses a broad spectrum of emotions ranging from a few passing moments of fear to a complete state of panic. In either case, the experience is painful on a feeling level or, at its worst, terrifying. For this reason, most people find a way to obliterate images of death’s finality from their conscious… Read more »

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