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The Wiley World Handbook Of Existential Therapy...

An existential therapy handbook from those in the field, with its broad scope covering key texts, theories, practice, and researchThe Wiley World Handbook of Existential Therapy is a work representing the collaboration of existential psychotherapists, teachers, and researchers. It's a book to guide readers in understanding human life better through the exploration of aspects and applications of existential therapy. The book presents the therapy as a way for clients to explore their experiences and make the most of their lives. Its contributors offer an accurate and in-depth view of the field. An introduction of existential therapy is provided, along with a summary of its historical foundations. Chapters are organized into sections that cover: daseinsanalysis; existential-phenomenonological, -humanistic, and -integrative therapies; and existential group therapy. International developments in theory, practice and research are also examined. About the Author Emmy van Deurzen is a philosopher, counselling psychologist and existential psychotherapist. She is Principal of the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling at the Existential Academy in London, UK. Erik Craig is an existential psychologist, author, and independent scholar. While living and practicing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he also teaches and trains psychotherapists internationally. Alfried Längle has a private practice in psychotherapy, general medicine and clinical psychology and is Professor of Applied Psychology at HSE-University, Moscow and Sigmund Freud University, Vienna. Kirk J. Schneider is a psychologist and leading spokesperson for contemporary existential-humanistic psychology. He is an adjunct faculty member at Saybrook University and Teachers College, Columbia University. Digby Tantam is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Sheffield and Visiting Professor at Middlesex University and the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling. Simon du Plock is Head of the Faculty of Post-Qualification and Professional Doctorates at the Metanoia Institute, London, and Professor at Middlesex University, UK. Permissions Request permission to reuse content from this site

The Wiley World Handbook of Existential Therapy...


Existential therapy is coming into its own in the midst of a world in turmoil. At a time of international crisis, political upheavals and climate change, existential therapists have much to offer to people who are anxious and confused, perturbed and despondent.

Existential crises are everywhere now, as we are much more aware of the potential of the climate and moral emergencies that the world is now facing. So, existential therapy is finally becoming more visible.

In 2015 the First World Congress for Existential Therapy took place in London. Over 650 existential therapists, from many different parts of the world, including China and Africa, came together to talk about how to help people in existential crisis. In 2019 we had the second World Congress in Buenos Aires and in between those two events we produced the Wiley World Handbook of Existential Therapy, with six editors and hundreds of contributors. It brought together all these different orientations of existential therapists, the humanists, the integrationists, the phenomenologists, the group specialists, the Daseinsanalysts and the logotherapists. It is a good summary of existential therapy as it has evolved over its first century. Nevertheless, many existential therapists pride themselves in tracing their roots back to classic philosophies, be they Western or Eastern.

Perhaps our politicians should be put through some weeks of existential therapy: facing up to their own paradoxes and contradictions and learning to take responsibility for their choices, actions and impact on the world around them. For existential therapists believe that we can never work in isolation with just one person: people are always part of a system, part of a complex world, that affects them and that we can learn to gently and purposely affect in return.

British publications dealing with existential therapy include contributions by these authors: Jenner (de Koning and Jenner, 1982), Heaton (1988, 1994), Cohn (1994, 1997),[10] Spinelli (1997), Cooper (1989, 2002), Eleftheriadou (1994), Lemma-Wright (1994), Du Plock (1997), Strasser and Strasser (1997), van Deurzen (1997, 1998, 2002), van Deurzen and Arnold-Baker (2005), and van Deurzen and Kenward (2005). Other writers such as Lomas (1981) and Smail (1978, 1987, 1993) have published work relevant to the approach, although not explicitly 'existential' in orientation. The journal of the British Society for Phenomenology regularly publishes work on existential and phenomenological psychotherapy. The Society for Existential Analysis was founded in 1988, initiated by van Deurzen. This society brings together psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and philosophers working from an existential perspective. It offers regular fora for discussion and debate as well as significant annual conferences. It publishes the Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis twice a year. It is also a member of the International Federation of Daseinsanalysis, which stimulates international exchange between representatives of the approach from around the world. An International Society for Existential Therapists also exists. It was founded in 2006 by Emmy van Deurzen and Digby Tantam and is called the International Community of Existential Counsellors and Therapists (ICECAP).[11]

Existential therapy (of the American, existential-humanistic tradition) starts with the belief that although humans are essentially alone in the world, they long to be connected to others. People want to have meaning in one another's lives, but ultimately they must come to realize that they cannot depend on others for validation, and with that realization, they finally acknowledge and understand that they are fundamentally alone. The result of this revelation is anxiety in the knowledge that our validation must come from within and not from others.[19]

For other theorists since the work of Thomas Szasz in the 1960s, there is no such thing as psychological dysfunction or mental illness.[21] Every way of being is merely an expression of how one chooses to live one's life. However, one may feel unable to come to terms with the anxiety of being alone in the world. If so, an existential psychotherapist can assist one in accepting these feelings rather than trying to change them as if there is something wrong. Everyone has the freedom to choose how they are going to exist in life; however, this freedom may go unpracticed. It may appear easier and safer not to make decisions that one will be responsible for. Many people will remain unaware of alternative choices in life for various societal reasons.

Existential thinkers seek to avoid restrictive models that categorize or label people. Instead, they look for the universals that can be observed cross-culturally.[23] There is no existential personality theory which divides humanity into types or reduces people to part components. Instead, there is a description of the different levels of experience and existence with which people are inevitably confronted. The way in which a person is in the world at a particular stage can be charted on this general map of human existence (Binswanger, 1963; Yalom, 1980; van Deurzen, 1984). 041b061a72


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