Book Review

The Need for Existential Cross-Cultural Competency in Therapy and Supervision

Abstract Reviews the book Addressing Cultural Complexities in Practice: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Therapy (3rd ed.) by Pamela A. Hays. While acknowledging the timeliness and comprehensiveness of Addressing Cultural Complexities in Practice, this critique highlights the deficiency in addressing existential and spiritual issues in therapy in most chapters of the book. The critique argues that since meaning is the core of human experience and well-being, a cross-cultural competence in working with meaning-in-life issues is needed both for promoting the positive psychology of optimal well-being as well as for coping effectively with the inevitable dark side of human existence. Addressing Cultural Complexities

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The Positive Psychology of Aging: Character Strengths or Meaning Making?

Published as Wong, P. T. P. (2015). The positive psychology of aging: character strengths or meaning making? [Review of the book Lighter as we go: Virtues, character strengths, and aging]. PsycCRITIQUES, 60(30). doi:10.1037/a0039376 Lighter as We Go: Virtues, Character Strengths, and Aging By Mindy Greenstein and Jimmie Holland New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2015. 285 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-936095-6 $27.95 Reviewed by Paul T. P. Wong I approach this book from a unique vantage point – both as a researcher in positive aging and a 78-year old cancer survivor. From an academic perspective, Lighter As We Go is a light weight in terms of theory

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From Attunement to a Meaning-Centered Good Life

Published as Wong, P. T. P. (2014). From attunement to a meaning-centred good life: Book review of Daniel Haybron’s Happiness: A very short introduction. International Journal of Wellbeing, 4(2), 100-105. doi:10.5502/ijw.v4i2.5 Happiness: A Very Short Introduction By Daniel M. Haybron Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. 168 pp. ISBN 978-0199590605 $11.95 This small book is a real gem, sparkling with brilliant insights. I have always enjoyed philosophers’ clear, analytic, and penetrating thinking about complex, subjective matters. Haybron’s book is a shining example of a brilliant philosophical mind. But unlike most philosophical writings, which tend to be written in dense prose, with all sorts of

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Meaning Making and the Fundamental Issues of Human Existence

Published as Wong, P. T. P. (2014). Meaning making and the fundamental issues of human existence [Review of the book The experience of meaning in life: Classical perspectives, emerging themes, and controversies]. PsycCRITIQUES, 59(22). doi:10.1037/a0036782 The Experience of Meaning in Life: Classical Perspectives, Emerging Themes, and Controversies By Joshua A. Hicks and Clay Routledge (Eds.) New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media, 2013. 417 pp. ISBN 978-94-007-6526-9 Reviewed by Paul T. P. Wong This review was written during a very difficult time of my life involving life-threatening situations. Having gone through the valley of death, meaning in life is no longer an academic subject but

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Integrating Indigenous Healing With Mainstream Psychotherapy: Promises and Obstacles

Published as Wong, P. T. P. (2013). Integrating indigenous healing with mainstream psychotherapy: Promises and obstacles [Review of the book Synergy, healing, and empowerment: Insights from cultural diversity]. PsycCRITIQUES, 58(29). doi:10.1037/a0033223 *Please note that sections not in published version are marked with an asterisk. Synergy, Healing, and Empowerment: Insights From Cultural Diversity by Richard Katz and Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu; Niti Seth, Peter Cornish, Tania Lafontaine, Danny Musqua, and Verna St. Denis (Cols.) Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Brush Education, 2012. 312 pp. ISBN 978-1-55059-386-0 (paperback). $34.95, paperback Reviewed by Paul T. P. Wong I am torn between two minds with respect to Synergy, Healing, and Empowerment: Insights From

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Finding Meaning in Meaning Research

The full review of this abstract has been published as Smythe, W. E. (2013). Finding meaning in meaning research. PsycCRITIQUES 58(12). Click here for the book review of The Human Quest for Meaning. The Human Question for Meaning: Theories, Research, and Applications (2nd ed.). By Paul T. P. Wong New York, NY: Routledge, 2012. 719 pp. ISBN 978-0415876773 $79.95 Reviewed by William E. Smythe   Abstract: Reviews the book, The Human Quest for Meaning: Theories, Research, and Applications (2nd ed.) edited by Paul T. P. Wong (see record 2012-03755-000). The meaning of life is obviously a perennial human concern, but it has also been, especially within the past

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Linking Social Psychology to Existential Psychology: Promises and Challenges

Published as Wong, P. T. P. (2013). Linking social psychology to existential psychology: Promises and challenges [Review of the book Meaning, mortality, and choice: The social psychology of existential concerns]. PsycCRITIQUES, 58(4). doi:10.1037/a0031077 Meaning, Mortality, and Choice: The Social Psychology of Existential Concerns By Phillip R. Shaver and Mario Mikulincer (Eds.) Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2012. 438 pp. ISBN 978-1-4338-1155-5 $69.95 Reviewed by Paul T. P. Wong The edited volume Meaning, Mortality, and Choice: The Social Psychology of Existential Concerns, part of the Herzliya Series on Personality and Social Psychology, is primarily concerned with how existential concerns affect goals, attitudes, and behavior. More specifically, it focuses

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Big Money, Big Science, Big Names, and the Flourishing of Positive Psychology

Published as Wong, P. T. P. (2011). Big money, big science, big names, and the flourishing of positive psychology [Review of the book Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being]. PsycCRITIQUES, 56(49). doi:10.1037/a0026281 Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being by Martin E. P. Seligman New York, NY: Free Press, 2011. 349 pp. ISBN 978-1-4391-9075-3 $26.00 Reviewed by Paul T. P. Wong Love him or hate him, Martin Seligman is arguably the most famous positive psychologist on earth. No other psychologist has ever achieved the kind of dominant presence Seligman has in positive psychology. It is difficult to evaluate the work

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From the Antiviolence Movement to a Positive Feminism

Published as Wong, P. T. P. (2011). From the antiviolence movement to a positive feminism [Review of the book Hard Knocks]. PsycCRITIQUES, 56(4). doi:10.1037/a0022273 Hard Knocks: Domestic Violence and the Psychology of Storytelling By Janice Haaken New York, NY: Routledge, 2010. 196 pp. ISBN 978-0-415-56342-0 $26.95 Reviewed by Paul T. P. Wong The title Hard Knocks: Domestic Violence and the Psychology of Storytelling really grabs my attention. Surviving hard knocks has been a way of life and an area of expertise for me. Besides the fact that I am a justice fighter, my own research and practice have involved domestic violence and story telling. Thus,

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Film Review

Finding Meaning and Happiness While Dying of Cancer: Lessons on Existential Positive Psychology

Ikiru (1952) By Akira Kurosawa (Director) Reviewed by Paul T. P. Wong and Daniel Gingras The 1952 classic film Ikiru is considered Akira Kurosawa’s greatest directorial achievement. The title literally means to live. It is a story about how to live in the face of impending death. It is a dark but life-affirming film, providing a compelling case of existential positive psychology (EPP; Wong, 2009) by exposing the dark side of human existence to awaken us to the potential of authentic meaning and happiness. Ikiru does not give viewers any cinematic elevation (Niemiec & Wedding, 2008); in fact, it is

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