Words Against the Void: Poems by an Existential Psychologists (Revised & Expanded Version)

Tom Greening is a long time existential psychologist, professor, and poet. In this collection of poems, Dr. Greening explores many challenging topics, incuding the meaning of our existence, the challenges of the medical model in psychology, war, religion, and our paradoxical human nature. All these topics are approached with his typical wit and humor. Whether a psychologist, mental health proefssional, or just someone interested in the many challenges of life, this collection of poems will make you think, laugh, and maybe even cry. The new Revised and Expanded Edition of Words Against the Void includes over 25 new poems as well as a new Introduction by Louis Hoffman, PhD.


What People Are Saying about Words Against the Void

Tom Greening is a witty, courageous, and insidiously brilliant critic of psychiatric fraud and folly – and our pathologized society. This short book is full of truth and wisdom and is a deceptively easy read. Laugh and learn.

Thomas Szasz, MD
Author, The Myth of Mental Illness

Poetry has the capacity of expressing thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a manner both unique and profound. The distinguished psychotherapist Dr. Tom Greening has written a bevy of brilliant poems that reveal grief and joy, anguish and humor, and depths of meaning and insight that would be inconceivable through any other medium.

Stanley Krippner, PhD
Co-Author, Haunted by Combat:
Understanding PTSD in War Veterans

I suppose you could, on a cold winter night, curl up in front of a fireplace and read these poems by Tom Greening. However, this could be dangerous to your psyche because the incongruence between place and poems would be too great.  These poems, despite their self-deprecating humor, laser right through our defenses and reveal us to ourselves. If we are flying too high, these poems bring us down to earth. If we are feeling too low, they raise us up. If we think we are intellectuals who have it all figured out, they make a face at us. If we are panicked by our ignorance, they walk by our side and tell us jokes to cheer us up. Tom Greening and Herbert Lochenkopf pretend to be fools, clowns, jesters; but if you get their message, you will stop laughing. Laughter and tears just don’t mix.

David N. Elkins, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Pepperdine University


Tom Greening’s poems are a joy – and that ain’t no ploy! A pioneer in the “Humoristic” side of Humanistic Psychology, Tom has for decades now, restored wit, wisdom, and absurdity to a high art.

Kirk Schneider, PhD
Editor, Journal of Humanistic Psychology
Author of Existential-Integrative Psychotherapy and Rediscovery of Awe


In these poems, Tom unwraps his wounded self in order to be vulnerable and available at the deepest levels of the soul’s ability to communicate.

Emory Cowan, Jr., MDiv, PhD

I would prefer a world where some insights are best conveyed through poetry, and where some experiences can only be captured in words and not numbers…. For such as me, the poetry in this book is a fine way to learn about the human condition.

Art Bohart, PhD