What’s Love Got to Do With It?

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From the first moment I was introduced to humanistic psychology in graduate school, I fell in love with the idea that love really mattered, for my own personal growth as a mental health professional, and as a critical learning edge in psychotherapy, itself guiding the client toward love for and appreciation of him- or herself. We can be quite harsh with ourselves in our internal dialogue and that is not healthy. That is why as a key component of my presidential year, I’ve chosen to emphasize love and its various contributions to health, well-being and the skillset involved in thriving, or at least, attempting to thrive. When the rest of the world is telling us “no” in the multiple ways that it does, love for our very selves can propel us toward growth, learning, development and adopting self-actualization as a lifelong philosophy. Where Western society and mass media over the years have portrayed self-love and self-care as selfishness and self-indulgence, humanistic psychology and mindfulness interventions promoted in Eastern cultures instead encourage self-care, framing it as self-nourishment, where at the end of the day, we have more “good stuff” left over to give others, rather than less. Through humanistic psychology and mindfulness, we learn how to cultivate such inner reserves.

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