Special Issue of Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology on existential psychotherapy

Those in our readership oriented towards the intersection of therapy and philosophy will be quite keen on the June 2016 issue of Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology because of its theme, existential psychotherapy. The guest editor is Duff Waring.  The format taken is featured articles, two commentaries per and then a response from the article authors:

 

The Lost Language of Being: Ontology’s Perilous Destiny in Existential Psychotherapy. By Erik Craig

Abstract: This article invites conversation regarding what is seen as a pivotal problem in existential psychotherapy today: the loss of its language of being, its foundational understanding of ontology, Being, and the human being, Dasein. The article begins by introducing the disciplinary challenges of being an existential psychotherapist. This is followed by a systematic, multiperspectival discussion of ontology and its language of being and the challenges an ‘ontological eye’ presents for the theory and practice of existential psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy. Historical and cultural factors contributing to America’s conceptual and clinical dispersity and disarray in existential thought and practice are summarized before presenting a brief overview of existential psychotherapy’s present standing, especially with respect to its prospects for developing a regional ontological understanding of the human as human and as a whole. 

Commentaries:

Whither Existential Psychotherapy? By James Phillips

Psychotherapy’s Ontic–Ontological Divide: Going Beyond the Hyphen. By René J. Muller

 Response by Erik Craig:  Distinguishing Apples From Trees

 

Abstract: This article attempts to illustrate how an existential ontology has a great deal to offer to psychotherapists. Because this complex interaction may often be difficult to see, three ways in which such philosophical work has been applicable and enriching in the context of a particular psychotherapy practice are presented. These include a) the use of existential themes and concepts in psychotherapy, including the notions of existential guilt, existential anxiety, and bad faith, b) the argument that an existential ontology provides a more suitable philosophical grounding for psychotherapeutic theories and practices, one which better describes the life-world, experiential phenomena in question, and c) the idea that an existential version of the mental status examination, centered around six key dimensions of human experience (derived from an existential ontology) can provide us with a more in-depth understanding of, and better description of, an individual’s experiential world.

Commentaries:

Does a Philosophical Grounding in an Existential Ontology Make for a Better Psychotherapist? By Morris N. Eagle
The Personal Dimension to Ontology. By M. Guy Thompson

 

Abstract: Heidegger’s existential ontology has greatly influenced existential psychiatry and psychotherapy, yet opinions about the psychotherapeutic utility of an ontological perspective remain divided, especially in light of Heidegger’s negative reactions to misappropriation of his ontological analysis. The present discussion questions the universality of existential ontology, not to do away with it, but, rather, to ‘rehabilitate’ Binswanger’s purported ‘mistaken’ take on ontology and his much critiqued notion of “world-design” with Merleau-Ponty’s ideas of the ontological relevance of “emblems of Being.” The concept of world-design is considered here as a clinically illuminating notion that warrants revision and expansion, which I attempt with the concept of implicit world-projection and its relation to emblems of Being. This reformulation is intended to capture the ontologically world-defining meaning horizon and its relationship to the varying degrees of ontological security and insecurity, ontological robustness, sensitivity, and oversensitivity. This revised notion of emblematic implicit world-projection reaches beyond the confines of the pathological and can be situated within the larger context of relational theorizing. It can also serve as a bridging concept to contemporary reformulations of the unconscious as the “implicit.”

Commentaries:

Existential-Ontological Psychotherapy: Attuning to How Being Is at Issue. By Kym Maclaren
Why Ontologize? By Melvin Woody
Response by Angelica M. D. Tratter: Ontological Inquiry and Emblematic Meanings of Life

 

Resources:

 

 

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