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Exploring America's Crisis of Identity

For the Field of Therapy, Group Identity is an Unexplored Territory

Michael Ventura • 11/27/2017 • No Comments

By Michael Ventura - What might therapists contribute to understanding and healing the intense political polarization going on all around us? We came across an unusually prescient article by longtime contributor Michael Ventura that still offers a provocative perspective on our current cultural ferment. We've republished it—and provided an excerpt in this blog—in the belief that, in some ways, it still seems as relevant today as when it first appeared 10 years ago.

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An Awareness of the Soul

What Does It Mean to Really Get in Touch with Yourself?

Michael Ventura • 9/21/2017 • No Comments

By Michael Ventura - When I was 5 years old, I experienced something that made me feel viscerally, mentally, emotionally, and inescapably connected to everything and everyone around me, while feeling what I can only describe as a sense of privacy so deep and unassailable that "loneliness" doesn't begin to describe it. Thirty-five years later, I felt it again.

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Why Do We Find Sexuality Scary?

Uncovering the Sexual Secrets We Keep from Ourselves

Michael Ventura • 4/6/2017 • No Comments

By Michael Ventura - Sexuality is scary because it's where we meet ourselves most directly, without filters, without verbiage, and, if we go far enough, without fixed roles. It's where we meet ourselves with and through the Other—this Other with whom we journey into the realm; this Other, a partner as fluid we are.

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We Weren't Meant to Live in "Screenworld"

Why Therapy is the Counterculture We Need

Michael Ventura • 3/17/2017 • 1 Comment

By Michael Ventura - Nowadays, you see screens at checkout counters and laundromats, in restaurants and waiting rooms, and on the dashboards of cars and in their back seats. Isn't there something peculiarly disembodied about it? How does one find or grow a sense of centeredness amid this continually shifting screenscape? Psychotherapy, by its nature and purpose, is Counter-Screenworld.

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Confronting Western Definitions of Sexuality and Intimacy

Michael Ventura on Sexuality and Romance as a Personal Journey into the Self

Michael Ventura • 11/18/2015 • No Comments

Today, sexuality still seems to be a territory as private and filled with fear as ever it was. We haven't advanced far in our ability to talk of our own sexuality one with another. Part of what makes sexuality scary is that it's a realm all its own: one in which the rational and the measured are overwhelmed and subsumed. It's where we meet ourselves most directly, without filters, without verbiage, and, if we go far enough, without fixed roles. It's where we meet ourselves with and through the Other, a partner as fluid we are.

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How Psychotherapy Helps Us Recover the Beauty in Our Lives

Questions for Helping Therapy Clients Reclaim Meaning

Michael Ventura • 5/7/2015 • No Comments

Many walk into the therapist's consulting room exactly at the moment that they have been stripped to the core of their being. While not at the physical meeting-point of life and death, they are often at its emotional and spiritual equivalent. One element they seek and are desperate for is beauty; they present a situation that's cut them off from experiencing beauty. All of which leaves us facing one piercing question: What is beautiful in your life? The therapist-client relationship is just about the last functioning shared space in this country where this question can be asked and, more important, heard. Which is why it's so crucial that therapists find a way to ask it.

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Therapeutic Mindfulness in an Age of Interruption

Michael Ventura on Achieving Mindfulness in a Distracted World

Michael Ventura • 3/5/2015 • No Comments

We speak about “the present moment” and the ability to be fully present, and we claim a sort of smudgy understanding of what that means. But what is “the present moment?” Americans have heard and used these phrases for about 40 years, as Eastern and New Age concepts influenced psychology and other ologies. But obviously, once you delve into it, now isn't as exact a word as it appears. Plus, it isn't so easy to "live now" in a multimedia, interactive era of cell phones and pagers in which we're expected to be constantly available. To buck the odds takes courage.

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Appointments With Yourself

Don't Mistake Your Schedule for your Life

Michael Ventura • 1/4/2015 • 2 Comments

We speak about “the present moment” and the ability to be fully present, and we claim a sort of smudgy understanding of what that means. But what is “the present moment?” Americans have heard and used these phrases for about 40 years, as Eastern and New Age concepts influenced psychology and other ologies. But obviously, once you delve into it, now isn't as exact a word as it appears. Plus, it isn't so easy to "live now" in a multimedia, interactive era of cell phones and pagers in which we're expected to be constantly available. To buck the odds takes courage.

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