Konspirasi besar-besaran yang dimunculkan MALESBANGET.COM, mengenai statement salah (ada benernya sedikit) yang dimunculkan telah mendiskreditkan mahasiswa atau lulusan psikologi (untuk artikelnya bisa dibaca disini: 5 Alasan Kenapa Pacaran Sama Anak Psikologi Gak Enak). Saya sebagai salah satu lulusan dari jurusan yang hampir mengimbangi praktek perdukunan, karena setiap orang yang tahu jurusan kami dia langsung memberikan statmen “Berarti mas/mbak bisa baca saya?”, ini adalah statment salah kecuali kalau dijidat kalian ada tulisan diskripsi kepribadian anda. Apalagi kalau sampai ada yang tanya nomer togel yang keluar atau besok yang menang Marquez apa Lorenzo, keterlaluan kalian. Continue reading
Akhirnya ane angkat artikel ini ke blog, karena posting di forum malah dihapus sama adminya. Padahal sudah saya jelaskan bahwa tulisan ini hanya analisa pribadi dan dihubungkan dengan pengalaman ane didunia HRD. Bahkan refrensi juga sudah saya masukkan. Tapi apa daya kalau memang adminya tidak berkenan. Kalau disini kan adminya ane sndiri. Hahaha
Memiliki kecantikan legendaris, Elizabeth Báthory terlahir dari keluarga tertua dan terkaya di Transylvania pada 1560. Ia mempunyai banyak kerabat yang memiliki kekuasan, termasuk kardinal dan beberapa pangeran serta sepupu yang menjadi perdana menteri Hungaria. Dia juga memiliki paman yang menjadi Raja Steven dari Polandia. Tapi kerabat lainnya diketahui gila dan mengalami gangguan seksual. Paman yang lainnya adalah pemuja setan.
Pada usia 15 tahun, Elizabeth menikah dengan Count Ferencz Nasdasdy yang berusia 26 tahun. Mereka berpindah ke benteng pegunungan Istana Csejthe, yang bisa mengawasi Desa Csejthe di Negara Nyitra di Hungaria barat laut. Continue reading
Discursive psychology (DP) is a form of discourse analysis that focuses on psychological themes. It was developed in the 1990s by Jonathan Potter and Derek Edwards at Loughborough University. It draws on the philosophy of mind of Ryle and the later Wittgenstein, the rhetorical approach of Michael Billig, the ethnomethodology of Harold Garfinkel and the conversation analysis of Harvey Sacks. Discursive psychology starts with psychological phenomena as things that are constructed, attended to, and understood in interaction. An evaluation, say, may be constructed using particular phrases and idioms, responded to by the recipient (as a compliment perhaps) and treated as the expression of a strong position. In discursive psychology the focus is not on psychological matters somehow leaking out into interaction; rather interaction is the primary site where psychological issues are live.
It is philosophically opposed to more traditional cognitivist approaches to language. It uses studies of naturally occurring conversation to critique the way that topics have been conceptualised and treated in psychology.
Discursive psychology conducts studies of naturally occurring human interaction that offer new ways of understanding topics in social and cognitive psychology such as memory and attitudes. Although discursive psychology subscribes to a different view of human mentality than is advanced by mainstream psychology, Edwards and Potter’s work was originally motivated by their dissatisfaction with how psychology had treated discourse. In many psychological studies, the things people (subjects) say are treated as windows (with varying degrees of opacity) into their minds. Talk is seen as (and in experimental psychology and protocol analysis used as) descriptions of people’s mental content. In contrast, discursive psychology treats talk as social action; that is, we say what we do as a means of, and in the course of, doing things in a socially meaningful world. Thus, the questions that it makes sense to ask also change.
DP can be illustrated with an example from Derek Edwards’ research on script formulations. Traditional social psychology treats scripts as mentally encoded templates that guide action. Discursive psychology focuses on the foundational issue of how a description is built to present a course of action as following from a standardized routine. Take the following example from a couple counselling session (the transcription symbols here were developed by Gail Jefferson). The Counsellor says: before you moved over here how was the marriage. After a delay of about half a second Connie, the wife who is being jointly counselled, replies Oh to me all along, right up to now, my marriage was rock solid. Rock solid = We had arguments like everybody else had arguments, but to me there was no major problems. One thing that discursive psychologists would be interested in would be the way that Connie depicts the arguments that she and her partner have as the routine kind of arguments that everybody has. While arguments might be thought as a problem with a marriage, Connie ‘script formulates’ them as actually characteristic of a ‘rock solid’ marriage. Action and interaction is accomplished as orderly in interactions of this kind. Discursive psychology focuses on the locally organized practices for constructing the world to serve relevant activities (in this case managing the live question of who is to blame and who needs to change in the counselling). In the discursive psychological vision, scripts are an inseparable part of the practical and moral world of accountability.
In the past few years work in discursive psychology has focused on material from real world situations such as relationship counselling, child protection helplines, neighbour disputes and family mealtimes. It asks questions such as the following: How does a party in relationship counselling construct the problem as something that the other party needs to work on? Or how does a child protection officer working on a child protection helpline manage the possibly competing tasks of soothing a crying caller and simultaneously eliciting evidence sufficient for social services to intervene to help an abused child? What makes a parent’s request to a child to eat different from a directive, and different in turn from a threat?
The biopsychosocial model (abbreviated “BPS”) is a general model or approach that posits that biological, psychological (which entails thoughts, emotions, and behaviors), and social factors, all play a significant role in human functioning in the context of disease or illness. Indeed, health is best understood in terms of a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors rather than purely in biological terms. This is in contrast to the traditional, reductionist biomedical model of medicine that suggests every disease process can be explained in terms of an underlying deviation from normal function such as a pathogen, genetic or developmental abnormality, or injury. The concept is used in fields such as medicine, nursing, health psychology and sociology, and particularly in more specialist fields such as psychiatry, health psychology, family therapy, chiropractic, clinical social work, and clinical psychology. The biopsychosocial paradigm is also a technical term for the popular concept of the “mind–body connection”, which addresses more philosophical arguments between the biopsychosocial and biomedical models, rather than their empirical exploration and clinical application.
The model was theorized by psychiatrist George L. Engel at the University of Rochester, and putatively discussed in a 1977 article in Science, where he posited “the need for a new medical model”; however no single definitive, irreducible model has been published. However, the general BPS model has guided formulation and testing of models within each professional field. Interestingly, evidence for the application of the biopsychosocial model was found in ancient Asian (2600 B.C.) (cf Chinese medicine) and Greek (500 B.C.) civilizations prior to Engel’s introduction of the theory in 1977. The novelty, acceptance, and prevalence of the biopsychosocial model varies across cultures.
Model description and application in medicine
The biological component of the biopsychosocial model seeks to understand how the cause of the illness stems from the functioning of the individual’s body. The psychological component of the biopsychosocial model looks for potential psychological causes for a health problem such lack of self-control, emotional turmoil, and negative thinking. The social part of the biopsychosocial model investigates how different social factors such as socioeconomic status, culture, poverty, technology, and religion can influence health.
The biopsychosocial model of health is based in part on social cognitive theory. The biopsychosocial model implies that treatment of disease processes, for example type two diabetes and cancer, requires that the health care team address biological, psychological and social influences upon a patient’s functioning. In a philosophical sense, the biopsychosocial model states that the workings of the body can affect the mind, and the workings of the mind can affect the body. This means both a direct interaction between mind and body as well as indirect effects through intermediate factors.
The biopsychosocial model presumes that it is important to handle the three together as a growing body of empirical literature suggests that patient perceptions of health and threat of disease, as well as barriers in a patient’s social or cultural environment, appear to influence the likelihood that a patient will engage in health-promoting or treatment behaviors, such as medication taking, proper diet or nutrition, and engaging in physical activity.
While operating from a BPS framework requires that more information be gathered during a consultation, a growing trend in US healthcare (and already well-established in Europe such as in the U.K. & Germany) includes the integration of professional services through integrated disciplinary teams, to provide better care and address the patient’s needs at all three levels. As seen, for example in integrated primary care clinics, such as used in the U.K., Germany, U.S. Veteran’s Administration, U.S. military, Kaiser Permanente, integrated teams may comprise of physicians, nurses, health psychologists, social workers, and other specialties to address all three aspects of the BPS framework, allowing the physician to focus on predominantly biological mechanisms of the patient’s complaints See also.
Psychosocial factors can cause a biological effect by predisposing the patient to risk factors. An example is that depression by itself may not cause liver problems, but a depressed person may be more likely to have alcohol problems, and therefore liver damage. Perhaps it is this increased risk-taking that leads to an increased likelihood of disease. Most diseases in BPS discussion are such behaviourally-moderated illnesses, with known high risk factors, or so-called “biopsychosocial illnesses/disorders”. An example of this is type 2 diabetes, which with the growing prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity, is on course to become a worldwide pandemic. For example, approximately 20 million Americans are estimated to have diabetes, with 90% to 95% considered type 2.
It is important to note that the biopsychosocial model does not provide a straightforward, testable model to explain the interactions or causal influences (that is, amount of variance accounted for) by each of the components (biological, psychological, or social). Rather, the model has been a general framework to guide theoretical and empirical exploration, which has amassed a great deal of research since Engel’s 1977 article. One of the areas that has been greatly influenced is the formulation and testing of social-cognitive models of health behavior over the past 30 years. While no single model has taken precedence, a large body of empirical literature has identified social-cognitive (the psyho-social aspect of Engel’s model) variables that appear to influence engagement in healthy behaviors and adhere to prescribed medical regimens, such as self-efficacy, in chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc. These models include the Health Belief Model, Theory of Reasoned Action and Theory of Planned Behavior, Transtheoretical Model, the Relapse Prevention Model, Gollwitzer’s implementation-intentions, the Precaution–Adoption Model, the Health Action Process Approach, etc.
Some critics point out this question of distinction and of determination of the roles of illness and disease runs against the growing concept of the patient–doctor partnership or patient empowerment, as “biopsychosocial” becomes one more disingenuous euphemism for psychosomatic illness. This may be exploited by medical insurance companies or government welfare departments eager to limit or deny access to medical and social care.
Some psychiatrists see the BPS model as flawed, in either formulation or application. Epstein and colleagues describe six conflicting interpretations of what the model might be, and proposes that “…habits of mind may be the missing link between a biopsychosocial intent and clinical reality.” Psychiatrist Hamid Tavakoli argues that the BPS model should be avoided because it unintentionally promotes an artificial distinction between biology and psychology, and merely causes confusion in psychiatric assessments and training programs, and that ultimately it has not helped the cause of trying to destigmatize mental health.
Sociologist David Pilgrim suggests that a necessary pragmatism and a form of “mutual tolerance” (Goldie, 1977) has forced a co-existence of perspectives, rather than a genuine “theoretical integration as a shared BPS orthodoxy.” Pilgrim goes on to state that despite “scientific and ethical virtues,” the BPS model “…has not been properly realised. It seems to have been pushed into the shadows by a return to medicine and the re-ascendancy of a biomedical model.”
However, a vocal philosophical critic of the BPS model, psychiatrist Niall McLaren, writes:
“Since the collapse of the 19th century models (psychoanalysis, biologism and behaviourism), psychiatrists have been in search of a model that integrates the psyche and the soma. So keen has been their search that they embraced the so-called ‘biopsychosocial model’ without ever bothering to check its details. If, at any time over the last three decades, they had done so, they would have found it had none. This would have forced them into the embarrassing position of having to acknowledge that modern psychiatry is operating in a theoretical vacuum.”
The rationale for this theoretical vacuum is outlined in his 1998 paper and more recently in his books, most notably Humanizing Psychiatrists. Simply put, the purpose of a scientific model is to see if a scientific theory works and to actualize its logical consequences. In this sense, models are real and their material consequences can be measured, whereas theories are ideas and can no more be measured than daydreams. Model-building separates theories with a future from those that always remain dreams. An example of a true scientific model is longer necked giraffes reach more food, survive at higher rates, and pass on this longer neck trait to their progeny. This is a model (natural selection) of the theory of evolution. Therefore, from an epistemological stance there can be no model of mental disorder without first establishing a theory of the mind. Dr. McLaren does not say that the biopsychosocial model is devoid of merit, just that it does not fit the definition of a scientific model (or theory) and does not “reveal anything that would not be known (implicitly, if not explicitly) to any practitioner of reasonable sensitivity.” He states that the biopsychosocial model should be seen in a historical context as bucking against the trend of biological reductionism, which was (and still is) overtaking psychiatry. Engel “has done a very great service to orthodox psychiatry in that he legitimised the concept of talking to people as people.” In short, even though it is correct to say that sociology, psychology, and biology are factors in mental illness, simply stating this obvious fact does not make it a model in the scientific sense of the word.
In psychology, cognitivism is a theoretical framework for understanding the mind that came into usage in the 1950s. The movement was a response to behaviorism, which cognitivists said neglected to explain cognition. Cognitive psychology dervived its name from the latin cognoscere, referring to knowing and information, thus cognitive psychology is an information processing psychology derived in part from earlier traditions of the investigation of thought and problem solving. Behaviorists acknowledged the existence of thinking, but identified it as a behavior. Cognitivists argued that the way people think impacts their behavior and therefore cannot be a behavior in and of itself. Cognitivists later argued that thinking is so essential to psychology that the study of thinking should become its own field.
Cognitivism has two major components, one methodological, the other theoretical. Methodologically, cognitivism adopts a positivist approach and the belief that psychology can be (in principle) fully explained by the use of experiment, measurement and the scientific method. This is also largely a reductionist goal, with the belief that individual components of mental function (the ‘cognitive architecture’) can be identified and meaningfully understood. The second is the belief that cognition consists of discrete, internal mental states (representations or symbols) whose manipulation can be described in terms of rules or algorithms. All of these assumptions come from a school of metaphysics known as naturalism and have been severely criticized as they have not been able to provide any adequate support for their claims and assumptions. Cognitivism becomes ever more specious once the collapse of positivism as a theory of meaning is acknowledged.
Cognitivism became the dominant force in psychology in the late-20th century, replacing behaviorism as the most popular paradigm for understanding mental function. Cognitive psychology is not a wholesale refutation of behaviorism, but rather an expansion that accepts that mental states exist. This was due to the increasing criticism towards the end of the 1950s of simplistic learning models. One of the most notable criticisms was Chomsky’s argument that language could not be acquired purely through conditioning, and must be at least partly explained by the existence of internal mental states.
The main issues that interest cognitive psychologists are the inner mechanisms of human thought and the processes of knowing. Cognitive psychologists have attempted to shed some light on the alleged mental structures that stand in a causal relationship to our physical actions.
Criticisms of psychological cognitivism
In the 1990s, various new theories emerged and challenged cognitivism and the idea that thought was best described as computation. Some of these new approaches, often influenced by phenomenological and post-modernist philosophy, include situated cognition, distributed cognition, dynamicism, embodied cognition. Some thinkers working in the field of artificial life (for example Rodney Brooks) have also produced non-cognitivist models of cognition. On the other hand, much of early cognitive psychology, and the work of many currently active cognitive psychologists does not treat cognitive processes as computational. The idea that mental functions can be described as information processing models has been criticised by philosopher John Searle and mathematician Roger Penrose who both argue that computation has some inherent shortcomings which cannot capture the fundamentals of mental processes.
Penrose uses Gödel’s incompleteness theorem (which states that there are mathematical truths which can never be proven in a sufficiently strong mathematical system; any sufficiently strong system of axioms will also be incomplete) and Turing’s halting problem (which states that there are some things which are inherently non-computable) as evidence for his position.
Searle has developed two arguments, the first (well known through his Chinese Room thought experiment) is the ‘syntax is not semantics’ argument—that a program is just syntax, understanding requires semantics, therefore programs (hence cognitivism) cannot explain understanding. Such an argument presupposes the controversial notion of a private language. The second, which Searle now prefers but is less well known, is his ‘syntax is not physics’ argument—nothing in the world is intrinsically a computer program except as applied, described or interpreted by an observer, so either everything can be described as a computer and trivially a brain can but then this does not explain any specific mental processes, or there is nothing intrinsic in a brain that makes it a computer (program). Detractors of this argument might point out that the same thing could be said about any concept-object relation, and that the brain-computer analogy can be a perfectly useful model if there is a strong isomorphism between the two. Both points, Searle claims, refute cognitivism.
Another argument against cognitivism is the problems of Ryle’s Regress or the homunculus fallacy. Cognitivists have offered a number of arguments to refute these attacks.
Existential psychotherapy is a philosophical method of therapy that operates on the belief that inner conflict within a person is due to that individual’s confrontation with the givens of existence.These givens, as noted by Irvin D. Yalom, are: the inevitability of death, freedom and its attendant responsibility, existential isolation (referring to Phenomenology), and finally meaninglessness. These four givens, also referred to as ultimate concerns, form the body of existential psychotherapy and compose the framework in which a therapist conceptualizes a client’s problem in order to develop a method of treatment. In the British School of Existential therapy (Cooper, 2003), these givens are seen as predictable tensions and paradoxes of the four dimensions of human existence, the physical, social , personal and spiritual realms, (Umwelt, Mitwelt, Eigenwelt and Uberwelt).
BackgroundThe philosophers who are especially pertinent to the development of existential psychotherapy are those whose work is directly aimed at making sense of human existence. But the philosophical movements that are of most importance and that have been directly responsible for the generation of existential therapy are phenomenology and existential philosophy.
The starting point of existential philosophy (see Warnock, 1970; Macquarrie, 1972; Mace, 1999; Van Deurzen and Kenward, 2005) can be traced back to the nineteenth century and the work of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. Both were in conflict with the predominant ideologies of their time and committed to the exploration of reality as it can be experienced in a passionate and personal manner.
Kierkegaard (1813–55) protested vigorously against popular misunderstanding and abuse of Christian dogma and the so-called ‘objectivity’ of science (Kierkegaard, 1841, 1844). He thought that both were ways of avoiding the anxiety inherent in human existence. He had great contempt for the way in which life was being lived by those around him and believed that truth could ultimately only be discovered subjectively by the individual in action. What was most lacking was people’s courage to take the leap of faith and live with passion and commitment from the inward depth of existence. This involved a constant struggle between the finite and infinite aspects of our nature as part of the difficult task of creating a self and finding meaning. As Kierkegaard lived by his own word he was lonely and much ridiculed during his lifetime.
Nietzsche (1844–1900) took this philosophy of life a step further. His starting point was the notion that God is dead, that is, the idea of God was outmoded and limiting (Nietzsche, 1861, 1874, 1886) and that it is up to us to re-evaluate existence in light of this. He invited people to shake off the shackles of moral and societal constraint and to discover their free will in order to live according to their own desires, now the only maintainable law in his philosophy. He encouraged people to transcend the mores of civilization and choose their own standards. The important existential themes of freedom, choice, responsibility and courage are introduced for the first time.
While Kierkegaard and Nietzsche drew attention to the human issues that needed to be addressed, Husserl’s phenomenology (Husserl, 1960, 1962; Moran, 2000) provided the method to address them in a rigorous manner. He contended that natural sciences are based on the assumption that subject and object are separate and that this kind of dualism can only lead to error. He proposed a whole new mode of investigation and understanding of the world and our experience of it. Prejudice has to be put aside or ‘bracketed’, in order for us to meet the world afresh and discover what is absolutely fundamental and only directly available to us through intuition. If people want to grasp the essence of things, instead of explaining and analyzing them they have to learn to describe and understand them.
Heidegger (1889–1976) applied the phenomenological method to understanding the meaning of being (Heidegger, 1962, 1968). He argued that poetry and deep philosophical thinking can bring greater insight into what it means to be in the world than can be achieved through scientific knowledge. He explored human being in the world in a manner that revolutionizes classical ideas about the self and psychology. He recognized the importance of time, space, death and human relatedness. He also favoured hermeneutics, an old philosophical method of investigation, which is the art of interpretation. Unlike interpretation as practised in psychoanalysis (which consists of referring a person’s experience to a pre-established theoretical framework) this kind of interpretation seeks to understand how the person himself subjectively experiences something.
Sartre (1905–80) contributed many other strands of existential exploration, particularly in terms of emotions, imagination, and the person’s insertion into a social and political world. He became the father of existentialism, which was a philosophical trend with a limited life span. The philosophy of existence on the contrary is carried by a wide-ranging literature, which includes many other authors than the ones mentioned above. There is much to be learned from existential authors such as Karl Jaspers (1951, 1963), Paul Tillich, Martin Buber, and Hans-Georg Gadamer within the Germanic tradition and Albert Camus, Gabriel Marcel, Paul Ricoeur, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Emmanuel Lévinas within the French tradition (see for instance Spiegelberg, 1972, Kearney, 1986 or van Deurzen-Smith, 1997).
From the start of the 20th century some psychotherapists were, however, inspired by phenomenology and its possibilities for working with people. Otto Rank, an Austrian psychoanalyst who broke with Freud in the mid-1920s, was the first existential therapist. Ludwig Binswanger, in Switzerland, also attempted to bring existential insights to his work with patients, in the Kreuzlingen sanatorium where he was a psychiatrist. Much of his work was translated into English during the 1940s and 1950s and, together with the immigration to the USA of Paul Tillich (Tillich, 1952) and others, this had a considerable impact on the popularization of existential ideas as a basis for therapy (Valle and King, 1978; Cooper, 2003). Rollo May played an important role in this, and his writing (1969, 1983; May et al., 1958) kept the existential influence alive in America, leading eventually to a specific formulation of therapy (Bugental, 1981; May and Yalom, 1985; Yalom, 1980). Humanistic psychology was directly influenced by these ideas.
In Europe, after Otto Rank, existential ideas were combined with some psychoanalytic principles and a method of existential analysis was developed by Medard Boss (1957a, 1957b, 1979) in close co-operation with Heidegger. In Austria, Viktor Frankl developed an existential therapy called logotherapy (Frankl, 1964, 1967), which focused particularly on finding meaning. In France the ideas of Sartre (1956, 1962) and Merleau-Ponty (1962) and of a number of practitioners (Minkowski, 1970) were important and influential but no specific therapeutic method was developed from them.
Development in Britain
Britain became a fertile ground for the further development of the existential approach when R. D. Laing and David Cooper, often associated with the anti-psychiatry movement, took Sartre’s existential ideas as the basis for their work (Laing, 1960, 1961; Cooper, 1967; Laing and Cooper, 1964). Without developing a concrete method of therapy they critically reconsidered the notion of mental illness and its treatment. In the late 1960s they established an experimental therapeutic community at Kingsley Hall in the East End of London, where people could come to live through their madness without the usual medical treatment. They also founded the Philadelphia Association, an organization providing alternative living, therapy and therapeutic training from this perspective. The Philadelphia Association is still in existence today and is now committed to the exploration of the works of philosophers such as Wittgenstein, Derrida, Levinas and Foucault as well as the work of the French psychoanalyst Lacan. It also runs a number of small therapeutic households along these lines. The Arbours Association is another group that grew out of the Kingsley Hall experiment. Founded by Berke and Schatzman in the 1970s, it now runs a training programme in psychotherapy, a crisis centre and several therapeutic communities. The existential input in the Arbours has gradually been replaced with a more neo-Kleinian emphasis.
The impetus for further development of the existential approach in Britain has largely come from the development of a number of existentially based courses in academic institutions. This started with the programmes created by Emmy van Deurzen, initially at Antioch University in London and subsequently at Regent’s College, London and since then at the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, also in London. The latter is a purely existentially based training institute, which offers postgraduate degrees validated by the University of Sheffield and Middlesex University. In the last decades the existential approach has spread rapidly and has become a welcome alternative to established methods. There are now a number of other, mostly academic, centres in Britain that provide training in existential counselling and psychotherapy and a rapidly growing interest in the approach in the voluntary sector and in the National Health Service.
British publications dealing with existential therapy include contributions by Jenner (de Koning and Jenner, 1982), Heaton (1988, 1994), Cohn (1994, 1997), 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); 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. An important developmentwas that of the founding of the Society for Existential Analysis in 1988, initiated by van Deurzen. This society brings together psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors and philosophers working from an existential perspective. It offers regular fora for discussion and debate as well as major annual conferences. It publishes the Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis twice a year. It is also a member of the International Federation for 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).
Existential Therapy’s View of the Human Mind
Existential therapy 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 (Yalom, 1980). The result of this revelation is anxiety in the knowledge that our validation must come from within and not from others.
In the existential view, there is no such thing as psychological dysfunction or being mentally ill. 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 be in life, however this may go unexercised because making changes is difficult; 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.
The Good Life
Existentialism suggests that it is possible for people to face the anxieties of life head-on and embrace the human condition of aloneness, to revel in the freedom to choose and take full responsibility for their choices. They courageously take the helm of their lives and steer in whatever direction they choose; they have the courage to be. One does not need to arrest feelings of meaninglessness, but can choose new meanings for their lives. By building, by loving, and by creating one is able to live life as one’s own adventure. One can accept one’s own mortality and overcome fear of death. Though the French author Albert Camus denied the specific label of existentialist, in his novel, L’Etranger, his main character Meursault, ends the novel by doing just this. He accepts his mortality and rejects the constrictions of society he previously placed on himself, leaving him unencumbered and free to live his life with an unclouded mind.
The existential psychotherapist is generally not concerned with the client’s past; instead, the emphasis is on the choices to be made in the present and future. The counselor and the client may reflect upon how the client has answered life’s questions in the past, but attention ultimately shifts to searching for a new and increased awareness in the present and enabling a new freedom and responsibility to act. The patient can then accept they are not special, and that their existence is simply coincidental, without destiny or fate. By accepting this, they can overcome their anxieties, and instead view life as moments in which they are fundamentally free.(The outline above is based on a strictly Sartrean perspective)
Four worldsExistential thinkers seek to avoid restrictive models that categorize or label people. Instead they look for the universals that can be observed cross-culturally. 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). One can distinguish four basic dimensions of human existence: the physical, the social, the psychological and the spiritual. On each of these dimensions people encounter the world and shape their attitude out of their particular take on their experience. Their orientation towards the world defines their reality. The four dimensions are obviously interwoven and provide a complex four-dimensional force field for their existence. Individuals are stretched between a positive pole of what they aspire to on each dimension and a negative pole of what they fear.
Physical dimension On the physical dimension (Umwelt) individuals relate to their environment and to the givens of the natural world around them. This includes their attitude to the body they have, to the concrete surroundings they find themselves in, to the climate and the weather, to objects and material possessions, to the bodies of other people, their own bodily needs, to health and illness and to their own mortality. The struggle on this dimension is, in general terms, between the search for domination over the elements and natural law (as in technology, or in sports) and the need to accept the limitations of natural boundaries (as in ecology or old age). While people generally aim for security on this dimension (through health and wealth), much of life brings a gradual disillusionment and realization that such security can only be temporary. Recognizing limitations can bring great release of tension.
Social dimension On the social dimension (Mitwelt) individuals relate to others as they interact with the public world around them. This dimension includes their response to the culture they live in, as well as to the class and race they belong to (and also those they do not belong to). Attitudes here range from love to hate and from cooperation to competition. The dynamic contradictions can be understood in terms of acceptance versus rejection or belonging versus isolation. Some people prefer to withdraw from the world of others as much as possible. Others blindly chase public acceptance by going along with the rules and fashions of the moment. Otherwise they try to rise above these by becoming trendsetters themselves. By acquiring fame or other forms of power, individuals can attain dominance over others temporarily. Sooner or later, however, everyone is confronted with both failure and aloneness.
Psychological dimension On the psychological dimension (Eigenwelt) individuals relate to themselves and in this way create a personal world. This dimension includes views about their own character, their past experience and their future possibilities. Contradictions here are often experienced in terms of personal strengths and weaknesses. People search for a sense of identity, a feeling of being substantial and having a self. But inevitably many events will confront them with evidence to the contrary and plunge them into a state of confusion or disintegration. Activity and passivity are an important polarity here. Self-affirmation and resolution go with the former and surrender and yielding with the latter. Facing the final dissolution of self that comes with personal loss and the facing of death might bring anxiety and confusion to many who have not yet given up their sense of self-importance.
Spiritual dimension On the spiritual dimension (Überwelt) (van Deurzen, 1984) individuals relate to the unknown and thus create a sense of an ideal world, an ideology and a philosophical outlook. It is here that they find meaning by putting all the pieces of the puzzle together for themselves. For some people this is done by adhering to a religion or other prescriptive world view, for others it is about discovering or attributing meaning in a more secular or personal way. The contradictions that have to be faced on this dimension are often related to the tension between purpose and absurdity, hope and despair. People create their values in search of something that matters enough to live or die for, something that may even have ultimate and universal validity. Usually the aim is the conquest of a soul, or something that will substantially surpass mortality (as for instance in having contributed something valuable to humankind). Facing the void and the possibility of nothingness are the indispensable counterparts of this quest for the eternal.