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:
- 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?
- The Rodeo Has ChangedI’ve been a participant in the ever-evolving rodeo that is the internet since the late 1980s. For a fair portion of those years, I’ve been a blogger, too. In redesigning and relaunching this website to be primarily a blog, I’ve found that my approach has shifted significantly.
- Deprivation Is Part of LifeOne of my children observed in a conversation that their childhood was “deprived.” I think they were a little surprised when I agreed… and even more so when I explained why.
- It’s Important to Experience Challenging EmotionsDisappointment. Frustration. Anger. Fear. Grief. These are just a few emotions that people may think of as negative emotions. I think of them as very informative emotions… if we’re willing to experience them and reflect on them.
- A Tribute to Ryan Holderman, the Best Teacher I’ve HadI was a pretty typical, cocky high-school freshman some mumblety years ago: I was sure I had the system figured out, and thought I was ready for anything. Being interested in science, I signed up for Biology I. I had no idea what was about to happen to me…