Meaning is the quintessential existential topic. All topics lead to and are connected with meaning. An essential assumption of the existential theorists is that people are meaning-seeking creatures. It is meaning that can make existence bearable. Conversely, the lack of meaning is one of the greatest existential terrors.
Even in high school Frankl was developing a keen interest in existential philosophy and psychology. At the age of 16 he delivered a public lecture “On the Meaning of Life” and at 18 he wrote his graduation essay “On the Psychology of Philosophical Thought.”
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e-textbookIndividual, Existential, and Humanistic Psychology from the electronic textbook created for undergraduate courses in General Psychology by George Boeree of Shippensburg University. Existential TherapyAn overview of existential theory and therapy as practiced by Rollo May and Irvin Yalom. Contains quotes, movie recommendations, training, comparisons with the humanistic tradition, and more. Searching for Meaning Existential-humanistic psychologists hope to promote the idea that therapy can change not only minds but lives. By Michael Price, from the APA Monitor, November 2011, 42(10), print version p. 58.
Existential/Phenomenological Psychologies. These slides (in PDF format) on Existential and Phenomenological Psychologies, including philosophical roots, Heideggar, Daseinanalysis, J.P. Sartre, Rollo May, and Irvin Yalom are from Richard Ryan’s Theories of Personality & Psychotherapy class at the University of Rochester.
Existential-Humanistic Psychotherapy and EducationShrink Rap Radio: A Psychology talk and Interview Show (Podcast; Show #115, October 14th, 2007). In this episode, Dr. Dave talks with Myrtle Heery, Ph.D., M.F.T., Associate Professor of Psychology, Sonoma State University and Adjunct Faculty at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California and Director of the International Institute of Humanistic Studies through which she offers two-year training program nationally and internationally for helping professionals. She discusses the basics of existential-humanistic psychotherapy which emphasizes the present moment and the choices which face us, and a brief overview of the five tenets of existential therapy. Psychology CartoonsSpice up your lectures with one of these classic single-panel cartoons of Sydney Harris. In this online collection of science cartoons you will find references to Freud, Rorschach, brain dominance, skinner, existentialism, and more.
Sep 26, 2020 · Existential positive psychology tries to help people achieve well-being and balance, allowing them to manage daily, recurring challenges. One of the most common criticisms of positive psychology and theorists such as Seligman or Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is that they focused exclusively on the healthy side of human beings.
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Resolution may be obtained through an existential meaning system, to focus on existence rather than a spiritual or religious system that emphasizes metaphysical dimensions of meaning. I define ‘psycho-spiritual model’ as a way of understanding the connection of mind, body and spirit.
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William James’s famous distinction between the “I” (subject) and the “me” (object) can be used to understand all phenomenological approaches to personality. The “I” refers to experience as it occurs for an individual (e.g., what it feels like to win an award). The “me” refers to how a person thinks about her- or himself as an object of knowledge (e.g., what someone thinks about her- or himself for having won an award). In the phenomenological model, the “I” and the “me” interact to give an individual’s self-consciousness its particular form. Phenomenological theorists focus on two kinds of subjective experience. The first is how people experience themselves in relation to others. An example is how a young girl experiences herself as her parents express disapproval of her behavior. People’s positive and negative experiences with others contribute to how they learn to value themselves, sometimes called self-regard. Carl Rogers was particularly concerned with conditions of worth—or exp...
A more European version of phenomenological theory, referred to as existentialism, also studies human experience and subjectivity, but the experiences upon which it focuses are loneliness, isolation, and death. Existential theorists believe that such ultimate concerns can be sources of a deeper personal meaning. The awareness of death in particular is considered to be uniquely human. Existentialist theorists also point out that some people seek constraint. They choose to distort their own experience in order to narrow their world and feel safer. They regard actively choosing a constrained self as self-deception and bad faith.
An important contribution of phenomenological theories is their focus on personal meaning, health, and growth. In many ways they are the immediate ancestors of what is currently called positive psychology. Phenomenological theorists are also psychology’s original advocates of the personality trait known as Openness to Experience. A related contribution of phenomenological theories is their emphasis on the uniqueness of individual persons. This uniqueness is easily lost in the statistical methods of scientific psychology that focus on average types. The narrative tradition in modern psychology emphasizes the individualist aspect of the phenomenological model by telling stories about people. These stories are supposed to contain information that is left out of statistical summaries. Finally, the common tenet of self-structure, where experiences congruent with that structure are accepted and experiences incongruent with that structure are rejected, has gained credence in both psychodyn...
Evaluating the “validity” of phenomenological theories of personality is a substantial challenge because phenomenological theory and the scientific tradition work from altogether different theories of knowledge. Phenomenological approaches are primarily interested in capturing the subjective reality of individual human beings. They propose that abstract concepts such as self-actualization, authenticity, meaning, and spirituality are essential to understanding what it means to be human. Concepts such as these are considered to be legitimate by phenomenology’s standards of validity because they appear in qualitative analyses of human subjectivity. However, the ability to evaluate the validity of phenomenological constructs using quantitative empirical hypothesis testing is limited. Despite problems in establishing the scientific validity of phenomenological postulates, empirical research does offer some support for Rogers’s personality theory. According to social psychologists, indivi...
Phenomenological psychology’s concepts such as self-actualization, authenticity, and congruence have considerable utility in the realm of personality theory and offer a persuasive depiction of human psychological life, but such concepts can become marginalized in the world of quantitative research due to their esoteric nature. Despite the widespread acceptance of the importance self-structure, phenomenological approaches are on the periphery of contemporary personality research. Even so, phenomenological methods of inquiry, such as narrative case studies, continue to provide rich, contextualized information about individual personality.
- Understanding The Philosophy of Existentialism
- Viktor Frankl and Logotherapy
- Rollo May and Existential Psychology
- Buddhism and Existentialism: The Completion of A Circle?
- Some Final Thoughts of Existentialism and Existential Psychology
- Review of Key Points
The roots of existentialism as a philosophy beganwith the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). Kierkegaard was intensely interested in man’srelationship with God, and its ultimate impossibility. Man is finite and individual, whereas God isinfinite and absolute, so the two can never truly meet. In pursuing the relationship, however, mangoes through three stages or modes of existence: the aesthetic mode, the ethicalmode, and the religious mode. The aesthetic mode is concerned with the here and now, and focusesprimarily on pleasure and pain. Youngchildren live primarily in this mode. The ethical mode involves making choices and wrestling with the conceptof responsibility. An individual in theethical mode must choose whether or not to live by a code or according to therules of society. This submission torules and codes may prove useful in terms of making life simple, but it is adead end. In order to break out of thisdead end, one must live in the religious mode by making a...
Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) was truly an extraordinaryman. His first paper was submitted forpublication by Sigmund Freud; his second paper was published at the urging ofAlfred Adler. Gordon Allport wasinstrumental in getting Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning (Frankl,1946/1992) published in English, a book that went on to be recognized by theLibrary of Congress as one of the ten most influential books in America. He lectured around the world, and receivedsome thirty honorary doctoral degrees in addition to the medical degree and thePh.D. he had earned as a student. He wasinvited to a private audience with Pope Paul VI, even though Frankl wasJewish. All of this was accomplished inspite of, and partly because of, the fact that he spent several years in Naziconcentration camps during World War II, camps where his parents, brother,wife, and millions of other Jews died.
Rollo May (1909-1994) introduced existentialism toAmerican psychologists, and has remained the best known proponent of thisapproach in America. Trained in a fairlytraditional format as a psychoanalyst, May considered the detachment with whichpsychoanalysts approached their patients as a violation of social ethics. For example, if a psychoanalyst helps apatient to be the best they can be, and the person happens to earn their livingin an unseemly or criminal way, it hardly seems proper (Stagner, 1988). On the other hand, who is to decide whichvalues should be preferred in a particular society? In the pursuit of freedom, May suggested thatsometimes individuals might reasonably oppose the standards or morality oftheir society. Politics, a wonderfultopic for lively debates, is dependent on opposing viewpoints. Only when an individual lives an authenticlife, however, should their opinion be considered valid, and existentialpsychology seeks to help individuals live authentic lives.
Buddhism is by far the oldest theory of psychology thatwe will cover in this book. Appliedexistentialism, particularly the work of Rollo May, is one of the more recentdevelopments in psychology. And yet,these two approaches share a great deal in common, a fact readily acknowledgedby May: …The likenesses betweenthese Eastern philosophies and existentialism go much deeper than the chancesimilarity of words. Both are concernedwith ontology, the study of being. Bothseek a relation to reality which cuts below the cleavage between subject andobject. Both would insist that theWestern absorption in conquering and gaining power over nature has resulted notonly in the estrangement of man from nature but also indirectly in theestrangement of man from himself. Thebasic reason for these similarities is that Eastern thought never suffered theradical split between subject and object that has characterized Westernthought, and this dichotomy is exactly what existentialism seeks toovercome. (pp. 58-5...
Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness (1943) isconsidered the defining text of modern existentialism. Sartre was an atheist, so the briefintroduction to existentialism in this chapter went in the direction ofatheism. However, Frankl and May werenot atheists, and one of May’s most influential mentors, as well as a closepersonal friend, was Paul Tillich. Tillich remains a well-known and respected existential philosopher inthe spiritual tradition. May went so faras to say that Tillich’ book The Courage to Be might be the best andmost understandable presentation of existentialism as an approach to life thathas been written in English (May, 1983). It is also interesting to note that both Frankl and Maywere significantly influenced by Alfred Adler. Frankl worked closely with Adler for a time, and May took a summercourse with Adler. Both cite Adlerregularly in their writings. Adler’sfocus on the childhood struggle against one’s own inferiority, his emphasis onsocial interest as a respon...Existentialism focuses on an individual’s subjective “truth.” The freedom and responsibility that come with personal truth lead to anxiety, but they can also elevate the individual to lead an authe...Heidegger believed that all creatures are connected, but that only humans can become aware of this connection. Dasein, the realization of this connection, allows us to connect with Being. Awareness...Sartre believed that humans were unique, something he called en-soi. Awareness of the nothingness that separates the en-soi from the pour-soi is what drives some individuals to make something signi...Viktor Frankl developed his ideas for logotherapy (an existential psychoanalysis) during his impressive early career. He had an extraordinary opportunity to put his ideas to the test while imprison...
May 16, 2013 · Humanistic and Existential Personality Theories. A personality is similar to a fingerprint, it is distinctive. The Humanistic and Existential. Theories of personality illustrate self-actualization, motivation, existentialism and person-centered theory. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explicate the humanistic theory of motivation.
Aug 28, 2013 · Theorists first of their kind to study the human race in an unorthodox method, that limited behaviorist and psychodynamic psychology, and rejected scientific psychology (McLeod, 2007). Humanistic psychologist; Maslow and Rogers study the whole person's inner feelings, self- concept, and their uniqueness in a qualitative method (McLeod, 2007).
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