As a child, I was fascinated by bodies—by which I mean anatomy and physiology. I pored over the encyclopedia set we had… especially the clear pages showing an organism’s systems and structure from skin to bones. I thought I’d become a physician one day.
But then I discovered the human mind and brain. Understanding our functioning, malfunctioning, and dysfunctioning became my passion, and I ultimately earned a doctorate degree in experimental and cognitive psychology. As part of that process, I learned about James and Eleanor Gibson’s ecological approach to perceiving and learning. It spoke to me in a way that cognitivist models of functioning (often called “information processing” theories) did not. I wanted to understand our functioning in a holistic, realistic way.
I never forgot my first passion, though. After years of working as a college professor (and many other jobs), I returned to school to become a licensed massage therapist. In that process and in my work as an LMT, I found validation of the Gibsons’ rejection of mind–body dualism. Professional therapeutic touch affects both, and can heal both.
Today, embodied psychology is an emerging field. You may have heard of embodied cognition or embodied emotions; those are specific topics in it. Whether rightly or wrongly from an academic perspective, I see common threads between embodied psychology and the ecological approach. I want to explore them from both an academic and a personal, informal perspective.
The phrase “body and soul” is common in the English language. Despite its poetry, to me it implicitly embraces that ancient, diabolical philosophical dichotomy. I couldn’t embrace that… et voilà—Embody and Soul.
To further support my philosophical and methodological preferences, I’ve added a line from one of my favorite songs by my favorite band, Rush: “I want to look at life in the available light.”
Not everything here will be weighty philosophy and psychology, though. I enjoy several hobbies and exploring all kinds of topics and ideas, and I aim to establish the habit of regular and diverse posting.
From the blog:
- Was I a First-Gen Student? (Is the Answer Important?)I’ve been seeing a lot of posts in my Twitter feed from “first-gen” college students, which got me thinking about my own experiences in academia. My answer is … complicated.
- How I Became a Copyeditor and ProofreaderThis story—much like how I became a psychologist—has its roots in my childhood. For as long as I can remember, I’ve adored exploring and playing with words.
- Psychology Has a Bigger Problem Than the Replication CrisisI’ve finally gotten a handle on the frustration that’s been building within me regarding psychology as an academic field.
- Thoughts on Gun Violence From a Psychologist’s PerspectiveI hadn’t intended to comment publicly on political topics here, especially this one; it’s complex and nuanced, and it doesn’t lend itself well to constructive exploration and discussion in online media. My focus is on a theory that helps us understand the increase in gun violence over the past couple of decades.
- Why I Became a Massage TherapistThis is another personal question I frequently got from my students. I understand why, since it appears that cognitive psychology and massage therapy aren’t that related … right?