What is existential psychotherapy?
- Death is a fact of life, and awareness of it gives significance to our lives. Therapeutic goals of existential psychotherapy: 1. To help people see that they are free and become aware of their possibilities. 2. To challenge clients to recognize that they are doing something that they formerly thought was happening to them.
We continuously recreate ourselves through our projects. 6. Anxiety is part of the human condition. 7. Death is a fact of life, and awareness of it gives significance to our lives. Therapeutic goals of existential psychotherapy: 1. To help people see that they are free and become aware of their possibilities.
- Timothy Thomason
therapist and patient is of great importance in person-centered therapy. Because humanistic psychology focuses on a holistic view of individuals and believes that man is intrinsically good and strives to achieve realization and self-realization, humanistic psychotherapy aims to promote these goals.
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- A Brief History of Self Psychology
- Existential-Humanistic Aspects of Self Psychology
- Values and Ideals
- Advantages of Self Psychology Over Existential-Humanistic Therapies
- What Self Psychology Can Learn from Existential Humanism
- Summary and Conclusions
Self psychology is largely the creation of Heinz Kohut, although there are many other creative theorists currently adding to and modifying self psychology theory and clinical practice. Some of these are Arnold Goldberg (1978, 1980), Robert Stolorow (Atwood & Stolorow, 1984; Stolorow, Brandschaft, & Atwood, 1987; Stolorow & Lachmann, 1980), Michael Basch (1980, 1983), Paul and Anna Ornstein (Ornstein & Ornstein, 1980, 1985), and Estelle and Morton Shane (Shane, 1985; Shane & Shane, 1980). Kohut was a Viennese-born psychoanalyst who lived, practiced, and taught in Chicago after coming to the United States in 1940. Until 1971, when he published his first book, The Analysis of the Self, Kohut was known as an orthodox analyst, a favorite of Anna Freud's, and a leading light in the branch of Freudian analysis loosely called ego psychology. Starting with his 1971book, however, he began to create a theory and form of therapy that, although including the analytic basic assumption of the dec...
Although a complete exposition of self psychology is beyond the scope of this article, I shall attempt to discuss aspects of the theory and therapeutic methodology in considering each of the points I make.
Although Freud's concept of the superego certainly stressed the importance of internalized (usually introjected) moral precepts and ideals in human functioning, Kohut made the presence of firm, coherent, mature ideals part of the basic strength or resiliency of the individual. These ideals are part of the idealizing pole of the bipolar self. Significantly, he does not specify which values he thinks people should have-that, he believed, was up to the individual. He did believe, however, that these values and ideals are important ingredients in a cohesive, resilient self, as important as the individual's ambitions, which are part of the other pole of the self. For example, one client of mine, a handsome, charming, intelligent man, was a successful lawyer. He worked in an area of law that he saw, however, as meaningless, and his view of the worth of his work made it impossible for him to feel proud of his success. His lack of firm values and ideals also made it impossible for him to d...
If Kohut merely mirrored many of the ideas and beliefs of existential-humanism, there would be little advantage to his theory. However, I believe there are many advantages to self psychology, advantages that originally stimulated me to attempt to integrate self psychology with Gestalt therapy (Tobin, 1982).
All too often one gets the impression from reading Kohut that his theoretical and philosophical ideas sprang spontaneously from his own mind and were not based on the ideas of others. For example, Winnicott's concept of the "subjective object" is very similar to Kohut's concept of the "selfobject," but Kohut makes no mention of Winnicott as a contributor to his own theories. Recognizing this, he attempts to explain this neglect as due to his aim, at least in his 1977 book, The Restoration of the Self, of "an attempt to struggle toward greater clarity" rather than "scholarly completeness" (Kohut, 1977, p. xx). Similarly, Rogers has made extremely important contributions to the use of empathy in therapy and, although Kohut earlier defined empathy differently from Rogers in his last article (Kohut, 1982), he seemed to be taking an identical position (Chessick, 1985), yet there is no mention of Rogers. Rollo May (1958) 30 years ago gave a profound description of the compartmentalizati...
In this article I have attempted to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of orthodox psychoanalysis and existential-humanistic psychology, to show how psychoanalytic self psychology incorporates many of the strengths of each while avoiding many of the weaknesses, and to give some flavor of the philosophical assumptions that underlie self psychology. I have also made an attempt to point to some lacks in self psychology that I believe existential humanistic psychology could rectify. I tried to integrate some of the theoretical concepts with the philosophical assumptions, but, be cause of the limited scope of the article, was unable to bring in more than some of the very basic concepts, such as the self, the selfobject, empathy, and optimal responsiveness. I want to emphasize that I have discussed these concepts in a very cursory way. There are also a number of other important theoretical and practical aspects of self psychology that I did not even mention: the concept of trans mu...
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This is a journey of existential-humanistic psychotherapy taken by three people: the client (Allen), the therapist (Dr. Heery), and the supervisor (Dr. Bugental, referred to as Jim hereafter). This is a journey of meaning and transformation for the three of us out of a cage of diagnosis into unknown possibilities.
Aug 21, 2021 · He holds that existential-humanistic is integrative, that the approach could enhance the therapist-client relationship using other psychotherapeutic methods. Magdalen Cheng, M.A. Magdalen is the founder of Encompassing Therapy and Counselling in Singapore.
The existential-humanistic school of psychotherapy is where I have turned for clarity. Bugental (1987) in The Art of the Psychotherapist writes, “life changing psychotherapy, more than most other forms of therapy, demands that we recognize the patient’s subjectivity as the true site of our endeavors” (p. 3).