In the quiet of the moment when night turns to day, the sun rises, and its rays warm your face, you’ve likely experienced awe. Or perhaps you’ve encountered it on a mountain top, or listening to music, or witnessing the kindness of a stranger, or gazing at the night sky, or looking into the eyes of a lover, a child, or dog. Awe is the emotion people experience in the wonder and vastness of experiences beyond their understanding.
It’s also the theme of the newest issue of MAPP Magazine, the alumni publication of the University of Pennsylvania Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program.
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Can magic mushrooms reconnect us with nature?
Incoming MAPP Magazine editor, Josey Murray (MAPP ’23), has found peace and connection—to others, to nature, and to herself—in the natural world. Research suggests she’s not alone. But as climates change and society grows increasingly disconnected, worldwide well-being is suffering.
In this article, Murray explores how a reconnection with nature can affect personal and planetary change and how psychedelic experiences may help to guide the way.
Jellyfish, stardust, and Nicodemus: Decoding the spiritual in psychotherapy
Psychotherapist, Linda Schiavone (MAPP ’17), contends that though often unexplored, spirituality can be a powerful pillar of well-being, a potential source of growth and transformation.
In this article, Schiavone illuminates the research case for spirituality in psychotherapy. Through three vignettes, she helps both clients and readers identify the sacred, the divine, and the transcendent in both expected and unexpected places.
From despair to hope: Psychedelics and the pursuit of human flourishing
In what some have dubbed a psychedelic renaissance, a resurgence of interest about the use of psychedelics in addressing mental health challenges is spreading across the globe. Nevertheless, we are still at that uncomfortable place in the scientific process where we have more questions than answers.
In this piece, Jon Rosemberg-Kort (MAPP ’23) shares a gripping story in response to a friend’s despair, while shedding light on the potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT) to aid not only in end-of-life transitions but also in the pursuit of human flourishing.
A conversation on awe with Dacher Keltner
Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and the faculty director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.
In this interview with MAPP Magazine co-editors, Kimberly Dickman (MAPP ’22) and Abi Tschetter (MAPP ’22), Dr. Keltner reflects on the science and everyday wonder of awe and its life-transforming impact on our happiness. He also tells the personal story that influenced him to write his new book on the topic.
Keltner, D. (2023). Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life. Penguin Press.
Featured photo on Awe derived from a photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash
Photo of yellow mushrooms by Igor Omilaev on Unsplash
Photo of jellyfish by Joel Filipe on Unsplash
Psychedelic picture created on ChatGPT by Jon Rosemberg (article author)
Photo of Dacher Keltner used with permission from Natalie Keltner-McNeil