Kelsey Hilton's Archive

Third Force Psychology

1 Commentby   |  04.23.13  |  Student Posts

Third force psychology is killing me, but only because I am letting it. In my mind, the focus on free will almost strips you of your individuality. It sounds paradoxical. And I think it is. As soon as you begin trying to live an “authentic” life, you quickly realize that everything around you is influencing you and you cannot escape all of it.

If you have not read the play “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett, I highly recommend it. The play is centered around two characters who are waiting for someone, someone they do not know, someone named…you guessed it…Godot. They wait and do all sorts of absurd things (an illusion to the existential “absurd”) to pass the time. The take-away is that the meaning of life does not exist inherently. A person must create value by defining it and living it. On a grander scale, perhaps there is some inherent meaning but we, as humans, are incapable of understanding it. I’m getting carried away with philosophy. Back to psychology:

I have not studied or practiced existential therapy so do not mistake my pondering as truth. I would consider the focus on choices and consequences to be very effective in therapy because it gives the client some freedom. I can also see how understanding that death is inevitable would help a client who is grieving or about to lose a family member. All of this has to be tactfully and with skill. I doubt that very few clients would find it helpful to hear “death is inevitable and their time has come”. I also would not be surprised if that blunt satement does help someone. It is all about context. It really is. That is what makes therapy and life so difficult. We never know anyone’s story completely and we never will. We can only know our own stories, and even then, only if we try.

How can we take something so basic and make it so complicated?

You really should read the play. It’s short.

Psychoanalytic Theory

2 Commentsby   |  04.11.13  |  Student Posts

WordPress now welcomes me with a “Howdy, Kelsey Hilton”.

What they obviously do not know is that this greeting comes with offense and irritation.

What I love about psychoanalytic theory is that I feel like I have the ability to apply it to whatever I please. Its complexity and abstractness makes it nearly impossible to prove wrong; but, let’s keep in mind that it is also impossible to prove right.

I must experience some reality anxiety at the thought of being stuck in Texas forever. The anxiety is so great that I employ several defense mechanisms to cope with it. Let us talk about denial for a minute. Texas is no longer a temporary address. Several years after I left for school, my parents moved from Colorado to Texas, leaving me with a permanent address ending with the zip code 76248. (I cannot even bring myself to say that my existence in Texas extends beyond Abilene) I have a Texas driver’s license now, but only because my parents moved. I refuse to believe that I am a true Texas resident, despite all of the evidence that points to the contrary. If denial does not work out for me, there is always identification with the aggressor. Even though I am a proud native of Colorado I have already developed a “Don’t mess with Texas” attitude. But that is really just a persona I still worry about getting sucked into the “West Texas Vortex”.

I really meant this post to be a critical analysis of some of my favorite literature (in particular: A Thousand Splendid Suns, A Million Little Pieces, and A Summer to Die), but I could not resist ragging on Texas. As displacement would have it: WordPress made me do it.


1 Commentby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts

I am tempted to argue that we are nothing more than the sum of our actions simply because such a statement is so bold that it evokes in me a passionate defense. To think that I am nothing more than a reaction is depressing, demeaning, scary, upsetting; I’m not sure I can express the feeling of being reduced to behavior. In my opinion, the fact that we are able to think about the consequences of reducing ourselves is the weakness of behaviorism. What I enjoy is that there are extremes to this argument.

Technology. We claim that it has helped us advance as a society, but what does it mean to advance? What is the advantage to being able to communicate more efficiently? Perhaps it all comes down to saving human lives. But who are we to save people? Our ethics have changed with the technology. We believe that it is okay to prolong people’s lives. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want people to die on an operating table. I am grateful that we have developed medicine that help people live more peaceful lives even though though they have been diagnosed with death sentences such as Alzheimer’s. Are we playing God? Furthermore, we judge people when they refuse treatment. Some people might go as far to say that refusing treatment for a disease that can be cured is considered suicide when only decades ago there was no decision to be made. Why is that?

As we develop new ways to prolong life we develop a new set of ethics that teach us to value to life over death. So much for freedom of choice. Do you see the sociopolitical problem of behaviorism?

Is this a depressing post? Absolutely, but behaviorism does that. There is either an extreme advantage to understanding ourselves as a sum of our behavior or an there is an extreme disadvantage. You do not have to pick a side. It is our ability to think that protects us from the power of behaviorism to reduce us to what we are so afraid to admit to: nothing but the sum of our behaviors.

Blog Post #3

2 Commentsby   |  03.05.13  |  Student Posts

Defining evolutionary psychology is like trying to define evolution. I take that back. You can decide to discard evolution altogether, but it is impossible to ignore the study of evolution, because regardless of whether you believe in evolution, you cannot ignore the fact that someone is studying it. Well, you could ignore that I suppose. It’s up to you. What you do is your choice.

Evolutionary psychology irks me for several reasons:

1. It is difficult to understand what we are actually studying. A mix between ethics and biology? The synthesis of many different schools of thought. It seems difficult to separate. Do not get me wrong, I understand that all schools of thought have some overlap, they build on each other, take and give, whatever.

2. The concepts within the school of thought itself are convoluted. We got into an argument (debate) in class today about the ethics of artificial selection/genetic modification.We agree that it is unethical to sterilize humans who we consider to be a burden to or outcasts of our society. But, who gets to define what constitutes burdensome characteristics, and why, as Christians do we even consider out-casting people?

3. Proposed answers to questions only bring more questions which we then try to solve. Why are we torturing ourselves? Why do we have a problem keeping our studies simple?

4. Evolutionary psychology leads us to believe that we are able to become all-knowing people; therefore, when we know enough we will be able to breed a super race. Why do we want a super race?! If we are all perfect people we are no one. Our uniqueness is stripped. So, we should stop.

Despite my critique of evolutionary psychology I seem to support it. I donate my body and money to science, so that one day, we will be able to eliminate illness.

We are made strong in weakness. Hold your breath because this sounds terrible, and maybe it is: who am I, who are we, to take weakness away?

Blog 2

3 Commentsby   |  01.31.13  |  Student Posts

When I look around at American culture today I see an Aristotelian influence. We are always looking for the answer to our next question. For example, we create drug after drug treating whatever disease we make up that needs to be treated. We have medication that has side effects of making the illness we are treating worse. What kind of solution is that? I’ll tell you:

It is the hydrochloride salt of a phenylpiperidine compound identified chemically as (-)-trans-4R-(4′-fluorophenyl)-3S-[(3′,4′-methylenedioxyphenoxy) methyl] piperidine hydrochloride hemihydrate and has the empirical formula of C19H20FNO3•HCl•1/2H2O.

Side effect: pathological laughter.

I can only imagine what Plato would say.


Oh, by the way, that’s Paxil, an anti-depressant. If you are interested in psychiatry and are looking for a laugh check out

The Good Life

1 Commentby   |  01.18.13  |  Student Posts

What is the good life?

The good life. I guess I am a skeptic because trying to answer this question frustrates me. I know that I will never have a satisfactory answer. Unfortunately, I cannot dismiss the question as a skeptic would because I am also a student, and this is an assignment.

So, my thoughts on The Good Life:

First, I assume a “Good Life” or a “Not Good Life”. Just because there is a “Not Good Life” does not mean it is a bad life. For now, until we define “The Bad Life”, I will refer to the “Not Good Life” as “Life”.

We live Life in pursuit of The Good Life which we will never find because the Good Life can only be understood in the context of Life. But we have to keep searching, because by giving up on the idea of The Good Life we give up on the meaning of Life.

Life is your current state of being, whether it is real or meaningful is different question. The Good Life is everything you want but do not have. The Bad Life, which can also only be understood in the context of Life, is everything you do not want. The Bad Life can exist without The Good Life but when the exist together they make each other more meaningful. For example, when you experience Life and discover what you do not want you end up wanting things that prevent the things that you do not want. Likewise, when you discover the things you want, you know the things that will prevent you from having what you want so you do not want them.

These obnoxious circular arguments are known as the Problem of Universals. Universals are qualities that exist between two or more entities. My book is brown and the table is brown. Brown,therefore, is a universal. Nominalism denies universals altogether and argues that only individuals are real. Realism argues that universals exist apart from the entities to which they are associated. Conceptualism is supposed to be a compromise between Nominalism and Realism by stating that the Nominalism is correct in that, there are only individuals, but, in Realism’s defense, because the universals are abstract, they are more than just words.

So how do you get The Good Life?

You already have it. It is everything you want but do not have.


*Information on the Problem of Universals was found in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (

Kelsey Hilton's Comment Archive

  1. Kelsey Hilton on Third Force
    5:43 pm, 04.23.13

    Thanks. For your enlightening views. I like that you think the name is catchy. And who cares if there are effective, evidence based techniques? One day we will have them. Just wait and see.

  2. Kelsey Hilton on
    5:37 pm, 04.23.13

    I like universalism. I like it because I like it and therefore it is valid because I’m thinking it. Just because someone else does not believe it does not mean that my reality is not true.”It” exists in thought, and therefore “it” exists. I do not think that you need to accept other people’s realities, you just need to acknowledge that they exist. By acknowledging that you are acknowledging yourself because you are generating thoughts and therefore must exist.
    You’re right. It is fascinating. Thanks Carter, for giving me the opportunity to ramble.

  3. Kelsey Hilton on Blog Post 6
    5:28 pm, 04.23.13

    The media absolutely focuses on the bad things. But not all the time. This morning there was a segment on catchy music and how to get those fun songs out of your head. Unfortunately I had to leave before the “get the song out of your head” part so I ended up walking around singing “call me maybe” all day. Life is what you make it, the media is simply part of your environment that is tearing you down.
    Thanks Gavin!

  4. Kelsey Hilton on Blog #5
    12:19 pm, 04.12.13

    Although media amplifies archetypes I think that they existed long before that; infinitely before that. I like the idea of a collective unconscious. It makes me feel like I belong to something greater than myself and my surroundings. Instead of reducing me to my environment, like behaviorism does, psychoanalytic theory allows my imagination to run wild. It is no wonder why this type of thinking is so prevalent in our culture.

  5. Kelsey Hilton on Blog post 5
    12:10 pm, 04.12.13

    A powerful weapon indeed. I think there is somewhat of an obsession with the unconscious. Well, I’m not sure you would call it an obsession; it is this thing that helps us when we want it to help and hurts us when we need an excuse. It is interesting, though, that there seems to be worldly trends in things such as personality traits and significance of colors. Maybe psychologists have already taken over the world. I guess there is no way to know.

  6. It’s so true! There is a commercial on TV where someone receives a text and they use the iPhone sound. Even though I see the phone on the TV my first instinct is to turn to my phone. I think you’re right about associating certain feelings with the ringtones as well. Because we have the ability to give each person a different ringtone it is easy to ignore incoming calls from someone you don’t feel like talking to or unknown callers without even looking at the phone.

  7. Kelsey Hilton on Blog 4: Behaviorism
    8:40 am, 04.03.13

    Potty training is a great example! We use rewards for children and animals to train them to use the restroom in the appropriate place and even time. We know that the middle of an interview is not an appropriate time to get up and use the bathroom. However, timing seems to be learned through modeling rather than conditioning which I find interesting. Good call Meghan, and thanks for the Full House reference!

  8. Kelsey Hilton on Blog Post #3
    10:55 am, 03.06.13

    Grant, I always enjoy reading what you have to say. We can critique evolutionary psychology all day long because it is easy to critique but why do we not pay as much attention to other theories? Why not sit down and talk about existentialism and whether or not we actually exist or have purpose, because if we do not have a purpose then who cares about studying evolution at all.
    What I took away from your post was that it does not really matter if we agree or disagree with evolutionary psychology, it provides ideas and we should not dismiss ideas just because we disagree. Ideas are ideas that spark other ideas which leads to the evolution of thought.

  9. Kelsey Hilton on Nature V.S. Nurture
    10:44 am, 03.06.13

    I like your argument Forest. I think it’s a stretch to say that we are dismissing sound logic because I do not know that we can believe anything to be absolute truth. Also, it could be argued that the nurture side of psychology also evolves thus making it a part of evolutionary psychology.

  10. Kelsey Hilton on Blog 2
    9:39 pm, 02.01.13

    Well Tyler, I completely agree with you. Every word you wrote rings true to me. And that part about first hand experience…bring it on. I believe wholeheartedly in experiential learning. You never know until you try!