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Existential Therapy:
an introduction
Emmy van Deurzen
2015
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Facebook and LinkedIn: Existential Therapy@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Emmy van Deurzen
 PhD, MPhil, MPsych, CPsychol, FBPsS, UKCPF, FBACP,
ECP, HCPC reg
•Visiting Professor Middlesex Universi...
Books by Emmy
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
3d edition of Existential Counselling and
Psychotherapy in practice or
Everyday Mysteries, 2nd edition
or Skills book for ...
most relevant
in relation to meaning:
2009 book on happiness
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Mystery and paradox of
human existence
 Life is a mystery to be discovered, explored
and lived, not a problem to be solve...
Imagine a person like a
sphere
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Your own little sphere of existence
matters
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
That person is located in a universe with
other planets, stars, suns, moons and
spheres
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Sphere as a planet or a cell: micro or
macro level.
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
If a cell: connection with other cells,
function and internal constitution are
paramount
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
If planet: orbit and position
matter
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Merleau Ponty: Visible and
Invisible
 Things are structures – frameworks – the stars of our
life: they gravitate around u...
You experience yourself as having a
nucleus: a core, a heart or a soul
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Perhaps we are more like suns,
generating heat and light
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Solar anatomy
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Layers of the sun
 Corona, chromosphere, photosphere, convection
zone, and core.
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Layers of a person’s life.
4.Physical: Umwelt
3.Social: Mitwelt
2.Personal: Eigenwelt
1.Spiritual: Uberwelt
@Emmy van Deur...
Merleau Ponty: soul
 The soul is the hollow of the body, the body is the
distension of the soul. The soul adheres to the ...
Layers of a person’s life.
4.Physical: Umwelt
3.Social: Mitwelt
2.Personal: Eigenwelt
1.Spiritual: Uberwelt
@Emmy van Deur...
We find ourselves in situations that
affect and oppress us.
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Spiritual:
Good/Evil
Intuitions, values, beliefs, purpose, meaning.
Worldview/Ideas.
Personal:
Strength/Weakness
Thoughts,...
Existential Space
Physical space
Social space
Personal space
Spiritual space
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Therapy
 Understand a person’s situation and its tensions,
including context and subtext.
 Elucidation of what is the ca...
Happiness or Meaning?
 Are we after happiness or meaning?
 Is the ultimate objective something else, like
intensity or c...
Both positives and
negatives
See how
they
relate
_
+
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
What is paradox?
opposites
are
inevitable
Only to the extent that we
accept polarities, conflicts
and contradictions do we...
Making sense of life
High
Big
Far
Good
Low
Small
Near
Bad
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Energy is the flow between
two poles
Source: kidzoneweather.com
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
tension, dilemma, conflict,
opposition, polarities,
paradox
 Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.
 Human evolution proceeds wi...
Transcendence
Thesis Antithesis
Synthesis
Dialectics
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
future
Thesis: my view
(past )
Antithesis: your view
(present)
Dialectics:
transcendence in space
Synthesis:
a wider view
...
Paradoxes of human
existence
challenge gain loss
Physical Death and
pain
Life to the full Unlived life or
constant fear
So...
Why happiness is not a good enough
goal for life
 Greater values than
happiness:
 love, truth, beauty, loyalty,
honour, ...
Baumeister (1991:214)
 Happiness is when ‘reality lives up to your
desires’.
 Long-term goals offer a sense of direction...
Baumeister (1991) Meanings of
Life
 Baumeister concluded that there are four basic needs
for meaning:
1. Need for purpose...
The right level of challenge
 To live a meaningful life and have goals and values
is not enough: you must also feel you a...
VALUES AND BELIEFS
 Values and beliefs are the basis of a personal
code of ethics which is about:
 how I want to live my...
Onto-dynamics
 Learning to live in line with the laws of life
 Paradox, conflict, difficulty and dilemmas are our
daily ...
No prescription
 Existential therapy does not have to impose
rules for living. It enables people to uncover
the laws of l...
Being open to worldview
and ideology
Polytheism:
Many Gods
Monotheism:
One God
Marxism:
Society as
God
Psychology:
Individ...
How to create value?
 Through committed and engaged action
 Step by step
 Diligently proceeding no matter what
challeng...
An educational project
Lifeisforlearning
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Overview of conflicts, challenges and paradoxes on four dimensions
World Umwelt : where? Mitwelt : how? Eigenwelt: who? Ub...
Engagement is key
 We go towards the world or keep away
 We flee, freeze, stay in place, or approach,
loving or fighting...
Existential psychology is
about a different way of life:
a way of being.
It is not just about knowledge
You have to
live i...
Your future is as bright as
your willingness to engage
and learn
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Existential Therapy
 Talking about your troubles is only helpful if
you can talk through them in constructive
dialogue ta...
Landscapes of our life
• Understand the Lebenswelt:
the world in which we live.
How do we co-constitute the world?
@Emmy v...
Focus of existential
therapy
 Ontological questions
 Addressed by tackling everyday ontic
problems
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Definition
 Existential therapy is a
philosophical method of
psychotherapy, which focuses
on the clarification of human
e...
Worldview
 Existential therapy values the interactive, relational
and embodied nature of human consciousness and
human ex...
How does it work?
 There are many forms of existential therapy and each
has its own specific methods and ways of explorin...
Aims
 Existential therapists aim to approach a person’s un-ease or
suffering in a phenomenological, holistic way. Symptom...
Training
 Existential therapists are trained in specialist
training programmes, that require four years
of training at po...
Buber’s encounter
 The interhuman: das Zwischenmenschlichen; the
in-between is where real communication takes
place (Bube...
Directive or non
directive?
 The existential therapist is purposeful
(directional) rather than directive. Also direct.
 ...
Later Sartre
 I believe that a man can always make
something out of what is made of him.
This is the limit I would today ...
 Man’s task is simple:
he should cease letting
his existence be a
thoughtless accident
Friedrich Nietzsche: The Gay Scien...
We cannot avoid all danger and all
problems and need to learn to cope with
adversity and difficulties: life is a challenge...
There is no abstract ethics. There is only an ethics in
a situation and therefore it is concrete.
(Sartre, Notes For an Et...
Is human emotional suffering
avoidable?
Or does the road of life inevitably take us
through lows and into dark and scary
p...
Is happiness desirable?
Ordoesitsoftenusand
stopusreflectonlife?
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Asking the Big Questions
and learning to Reflect
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
How to live? What is
truth? What is the
ultimate value of life?
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Nobody is spared crisis,
Conflict or LOSS
Are we ever prepared for the life changing challenges?
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Even if you play it safe and try to
avoid catastrophes
You still need courage and
persistence to brave unexpected
blows of...
Facts: depression
 2-10% of European citizens experience depression related
problems
 Each year: 33.4 million Europeans ...
Facts: anxiety
 Often considered in relation to stress
 Estimated 15.7 million Americans are affected each year
 12% of...
Size and burden of mental
disorders
 Most frequent disorders: anxiety (14%), insomnia
(7%), major depression (6.9%), soma...
People crave happiness and
want to eliminate their
symptoms
in 2010 some 16 million prescriptions were
issued for anti-dep...
SSRIs: Happy pills?
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
SSRIs as panacea especially with anxiety, but also
NRIs and SNRIs
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (Fluoxetine, Pro...
Unhappiness is not an
illness
Many people take the view they deserve happiness
 On this view, things like love, friendshi...
Camus: Sisyphus’ plight
Enable people to tackle the important issues
 There is but one truly serious philosophical
proble...
Project: active
transcendence
 Man is characterized above all by his going
beyond a situation and by what he succeeds in
...
What happens when life is
hard?
Migrant mother in USA depression 1936
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Buchenwald
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Survival is an issue@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Resilience
 How do we overcome obstacles?
 How do we survive difficulties, crises, trauma?
 How do we rise above advers...
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Being lost and finding
something new
 Heidegger’s aletheia (ἀλήθεια): truth means:
unveiling the hidden
 In loss we beco...
Laing:
Breakthrough in stead of
breakdown.
 Loss and transition are about breakdown of
the old.
 Instead of breaking dow...
What is the harvest of our
suffering?
 Ultimately, man should not ask what the
meaning of his life is, but rather must
re...
Frankl’s way to
meaning
•Experiential values:
what we take from the
world.
•Creative values: what we
give to the world.
•A...
How do we create
meaning?
 What is of most value in your life?
 What would you give other things up for?
 What would yo...
Layers of a person’s life.
4.Physical: Umwelt
3.Social: Mitwelt
2.Personal: Eigenwelt
1.Spiritual: Uberwelt
@Emmy van Deur...
Spiritual:
Good/Evil
Intuitions, values, beliefs, purpose, meaning.
Worldview/Ideas.
Personal:
Strength/Weakness
Thoughts,...
Emotions are our
orientation.
 Emotions are like the weather: never none.
 They are the way we relate to the world.
 Th...
We are lenses, prisms, the I is like the
eye
We refract light/life
 We transform what we receive and either
reflect it, a...
Befindlichkeit
 Befindlichkeit, attunement, disposition or
state of mind: the way I find myself. The way
I am situated in...
Different quality of experience
at each dimension
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
How do we experience
our world?
 We are lenses, prisms for light to refract. We
allow light through, reflect it, magnify ...
Tune into the feelings and moods that
colour our worldview
 They create different atmospheres at different times.
@Emmy v...
The colour of emotion
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Depressed worldview
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Four kinds of emotions
• Loss of
value
• Aspire
to value
• Threat
to value
• Gain
value
approach fight
flightfreeze
@Emmy ...
Threat to value:
pride, jealousy, anger
Pride
Jealousy
Anger
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Loss of value
(despair, fear, sorrow):
Despair,
fear,
sorrow
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Aspire to value:
desire, envy, shame
Desire
Envy
Shame
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Gain value: hope, love, joy
Hope,
love, joy
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
pride
jealousy
anger-
despair
fear
sorrowshame
envy
hope-
desire
love
joy
Sadness
Low
Happiness
High
Anxiety
Excitement
En...
Meaning and Purpose
 Find out what the inner landscape of a person is:
what is meaningful to them.
 Find out what your p...
Socrates
The unreflective life is not worth living
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Aristotle
 Eudaimonia: the good life : virtue ethics
 Should benefit the community at large rather than only the
individ...
Aristotelian practice
 Pupils are taught to separate true beliefs from false
beliefs and to modify and transform their pa...
Epicureans
 The Epicureans seek to treat human suffering by
removing corrupting desires and by eliminating pain
and distu...
Stoics: overcoming weakness
 Ordering of the self and soul
 Exercise of the mind
 Lack of moral fibre and emotional wea...
Skeptics
Pyrrho of Elis (c. 360-275 B.C.)
 The Epicurean view is that pleasure is the only good
and we are taught to adju...
Stoic goal
 For the Stoics the pupil's goal is to become his own
teacher and pupil
 In order to improve a person's life ...
Spinoza-ethics
 Prop.VI. The mind has greater power over
the emotions and is less subject thereto, in
so far as it unders...
Sartre Theory of Emotions
 The existence of desire as a human fact is sufficient
to prove that human reality is a lack. (...
Sartre’s emotional theory
 Embodied human existence mobilizes itself towards
or away from that which it desires or dreads...
Care
Jealousy
Anger
Fear
RejectionShame
Envy
Approval
Love
Acceptance
Isolation
Separateness
Belonging
Oneness
Engagement
...
Greed
Stinginess
Frustration
Disgust
PainNeed
Craving
Excitement
Lust
Pleasure
Deprivation
Emptiness
Satisfaction
Fullness...
Superiority
Stubbornness
Defiance
Deflation
HumiliationInferiority
Anxiety
Courage
Commitment
Confidence
Imperfection
Weak...
Pride
Prudence
Wrath
Resignation
DisillusionmentGuilt
Aspiration
Hope
Resoluteness
Bliss
Futility
Absurdity
Meaning
Purpos...
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
We need problems and
challenges: to learn and evolve
 Camus:
 In the depth of winter I finally learned that there
was in...
Taoism: Yin (moon/dark/
female) and Yang
(light/sun/male)
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Chiaroscuro, clair-obscur,
the light and shade of life
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
The art of living is to be equal to all
emotions rather than to select only
the pleasant ones
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Anxiety as source of
energy
Anxiety is life energy rather than a symptom of
illness
Anxiety individualizes. This individua...
Making suffering
meaningful
 Processing is of prime importance.
 Assimilate crisis and make it meaningful.
 Process emo...
Spiritual:
Integrate what has happened in world view
Improve rather than give up values, beliefs, purpose, meaning.
Stick ...
Loving your Life
 Loving your fate and destiny in all its manifestations
(Nietzsche’s Amor Fati)
 Challenges and difficu...
Bringing down emotional intensity:
painting the world pale or in pastel shades
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Going beyond
happiness
 Happiness as a high is doomed: every high is
followed by a low.
 Constant pleasure leads to addi...
What helps?
 Those who have experienced trauma do better if they
have good social support.
 They do significantly better...
Project
 Man is characterized above all by his going beyond a
situation and by what he succeeds in making of what he
has ...
Rita’s Grief
 When I speak to Rita, who is grieving over
her husband and small son who have
perished in a car accident, t...
Rita’s grief 2
 At first it is not my words that make the link to
her world, but the consistency that I can
offer in bein...
Rita’s grief 3
 Mostly the work consists of me letting
myself be touched by her suffering and
learning to tolerate her pa...
Bringing down emotional intensity
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Rita
World Physical Social Personal Spiritual
Umwelt Take
interest in
objects,
space
Meet
others
Relate to
own body
again
...
Overview of conflicts, challenges and paradoxes on four
dimensions
World Umwelt Mitwelt Eigenwelt Uberwelt
Physical Nature...
Dimension Positive
Purpose
Negative
Concern
Minimal
Goal
Optimal
Value
Physical: Health Illness Fitness Vitality
Pleasure ...
Rising above your emotions
 Above the clouds the weather is steady even when it
rains below.
 Transcending our own situa...
Potentiality is more than
actuality
 From project to action in our own lives.
 Plotting a route through the obstacles
 ...
Emotional well being
and joy of living
 An ability to creatively encounter problems,
challenges and crises.
 Capacity fo...
Rely on your
capacity to face
whatever
may come.
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Values and actions to aim for
1. Earning your keep with your own labour
2. Understanding others
3. Pondering your own moti...
Background action to make
life right.
 to be healthy and look after your body the best way possible.
 to enjoy what is f...
Optimal living
All living things are struggling for existence, even unwittingly
and unwillingly. They struggle passively j...
Tillich, 1966:15
 ‘Truth is found in the midst of
struggle and destiny, not as Plato
taught, in an unchanging beyond. ‘
(...
DESIRES FEARS VALUES
PHYSICAL life death vitality
SOCIAL love hate reciprocity
PERSONAL identity freedom integrity
SPIRITU...
Kierkegaard’s paradox
 Personhood is a synthesis of possibility and
necessity. Its continued existence is like
breathing ...
Magritte:
Empire of
Lights.
Learning to live with paradox and the tensions of life@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Checklist of existential
therapy
 1. Collaboration, liberty and equality
 2. Uncovering the implicit
 3. Themes and per...
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
When it is dark enough, you
can see the stars. Ralph Waldo
Emerson
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Eventually: Earth Rises
again
1968 picture from Apollo mission
@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
Facebook and LinkedIn: Existential Therapy@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
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  • Thank you Emmy for a wonderful resource - thought-provoking, enlightening and profound
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Existential Therapy: an introduction

  1. 1. Existential Therapy: an introduction Emmy van Deurzen 2015 @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  2. 2. Facebook and LinkedIn: Existential Therapy@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  3. 3. Emmy van Deurzen  PhD, MPhil, MPsych, CPsychol, FBPsS, UKCPF, FBACP, ECP, HCPC reg •Visiting Professor Middlesex University -UK •Director Dilemma Consultancy •Director Existential Academy •Principal New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling - London @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  4. 4. Books by Emmy @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  5. 5. 3d edition of Existential Counselling and Psychotherapy in practice or Everyday Mysteries, 2nd edition or Skills book for intro @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  6. 6. most relevant in relation to meaning: 2009 book on happiness @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  7. 7. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  8. 8. Mystery and paradox of human existence  Life is a mystery to be discovered, explored and lived, not a problem to be solved  All of human existence is situated in the tension between polarities and paradoxes played out in dilemmas, contradictions and conflicts.  We can learn to understand better how we intertwine with the world at all levels. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  9. 9. Imagine a person like a sphere @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  10. 10. Your own little sphere of existence matters @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  11. 11. That person is located in a universe with other planets, stars, suns, moons and spheres @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  12. 12. Sphere as a planet or a cell: micro or macro level. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  13. 13. If a cell: connection with other cells, function and internal constitution are paramount @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  14. 14. If planet: orbit and position matter @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  15. 15. Merleau Ponty: Visible and Invisible  Things are structures – frameworks – the stars of our life: they gravitate around us. Yet there is a secret bond between us and them – through perception we enter into the essence of the flesh (Visible and Invisible: 220) @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  16. 16. You experience yourself as having a nucleus: a core, a heart or a soul @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  17. 17. Perhaps we are more like suns, generating heat and light @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  18. 18. Solar anatomy @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  19. 19. Layers of the sun  Corona, chromosphere, photosphere, convection zone, and core. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  20. 20. Layers of a person’s life. 4.Physical: Umwelt 3.Social: Mitwelt 2.Personal: Eigenwelt 1.Spiritual: Uberwelt @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  21. 21. Merleau Ponty: soul  The soul is the hollow of the body, the body is the distension of the soul. The soul adheres to the body as their signification adheres to the cultural things, whose reverse or other side it is. (233) @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  22. 22. Layers of a person’s life. 4.Physical: Umwelt 3.Social: Mitwelt 2.Personal: Eigenwelt 1.Spiritual: Uberwelt @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  23. 23. We find ourselves in situations that affect and oppress us. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  24. 24. Spiritual: Good/Evil Intuitions, values, beliefs, purpose, meaning. Worldview/Ideas. Personal: Strength/Weakness Thoughts, memories, identity, freedom. Selfhood/Me. Social: Love/Hate Feelings, relations, belonging, acknowledgement. Communication/Others. Physical: Life/Death Sensations, actions, environment, body, things. Survival/World. Dimensions of existence @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  25. 25. Existential Space Physical space Social space Personal space Spiritual space @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  26. 26. Therapy  Understand a person’s situation and its tensions, including context and subtext.  Elucidation of what is the case  Putting things back into perspective  Seeing and working with connections  Creating meaning and purpose from connectivity  Learning about life: onto dynamics.  Liberation @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  27. 27. Happiness or Meaning?  Are we after happiness or meaning?  Is the ultimate objective something else, like intensity or contact with reality?  Are we perhaps just after life itself, but afraid of it?  What does it mean to live a good life?  Can we live a good life without offering ourselves up for depth and therefore suffering? @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  28. 28. Both positives and negatives See how they relate _ + @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  29. 29. What is paradox? opposites are inevitable Only to the extent that we accept polarities, conflicts and contradictions do we learn to live with truth Onto-dynamics rather than psycho-dynamics: Life is tension between opposites @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  30. 30. Making sense of life High Big Far Good Low Small Near Bad @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  31. 31. Energy is the flow between two poles Source: kidzoneweather.com @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  32. 32. tension, dilemma, conflict, opposition, polarities, paradox  Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.  Human evolution proceeds with constant conflict and forward movement in overcoming a previous state.  Paradoxes and dilemmas are integrated and gone beyond. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  33. 33. Transcendence Thesis Antithesis Synthesis Dialectics @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  34. 34. future Thesis: my view (past ) Antithesis: your view (present) Dialectics: transcendence in space Synthesis: a wider view @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  35. 35. Paradoxes of human existence challenge gain loss Physical Death and pain Life to the full Unlived life or constant fear Social Loneliness and rejection Understand and be understood Bullying or being bullied Personal Weakness and failure Strength and stamina Narcissism or self destruction Spiritual Meaning- Lessness and futility Finding an ethics to live by Fanaticism or apathy @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  36. 36. Why happiness is not a good enough goal for life  Greater values than happiness:  love, truth, beauty, loyalty, honour, courage, freedom.
  37. 37. Baumeister (1991:214)  Happiness is when ‘reality lives up to your desires’.  Long-term goals offer a sense of direction, but it is necessary to have short-term goals in order to derive daily meaning.  In fact it is having short term achievable goals that allow us to feel efficient and purposeful that gives us most of a sense of self worth and value of life. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  38. 38. Baumeister (1991) Meanings of Life  Baumeister concluded that there are four basic needs for meaning: 1. Need for purpose (spiritual) 2. Need for value (social) 3. Need for efficacy (physical) 4. Need for self-worth (personal)  It is the process of going in the general direction of these four objectives that makes for a good life. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  39. 39. The right level of challenge  To live a meaningful life and have goals and values is not enough: you must also feel you are capable of achieving these things.  ‘It is necessary to find moderately difficult tasks to maintain that middle ground between boredom (too easy) and anxiety (too hard).’ (41) @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  40. 40. VALUES AND BELIEFS  Values and beliefs are the basis of a personal code of ethics which is about:  how I want to live my life  how I want to treat others  how I want to be treated by others  how I aim to evaluate my actions and those of others  how I feel about human existence as a result @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  41. 41. Onto-dynamics  Learning to live in line with the laws of life  Paradox, conflict, difficulty and dilemmas are our daily companions  When crisis comes we need to have the courage to descend to rock bottom  From there we can build something better @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  42. 42. No prescription  Existential therapy does not have to impose rules for living. It enables people to uncover the laws of life, and recover their capacity to trust in these and be inspired by life again when they were forlorn, forsaken, desperate or confused. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  43. 43. Being open to worldview and ideology Polytheism: Many Gods Monotheism: One God Marxism: Society as God Psychology: Individual as God Atheism: No God Science: Facts are God Humanism: Mankind as God Agnosticism: Don’t know God Pantheism: All is God @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  44. 44. How to create value?  Through committed and engaged action  Step by step  Diligently proceeding no matter what challenges come on your path  Steady progress comes from undaunted focus on your project  Flexibility and finding joy in the process rather than aiming for success or happiness  In friendship and collaboration with others.  Valuing what matters @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  45. 45. An educational project Lifeisforlearning @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  46. 46. Overview of conflicts, challenges and paradoxes on four dimensions World Umwelt : where? Mitwelt : how? Eigenwelt: who? Uberwelt: why? Physical: survival Nature: Life/ Death Things: Pleasure/ Pain Body: Health/ Illness Cosmos: Harmony/ Chaos Social: affiliation Society: Love/ Hate Others: Dominance/Sub mission Ego: Acceptance/ Rejection Culture: Belonging/ Isolation Personal: identity Person: Identity/Freedom Me: Perfection/ Imperfection Self: Integrity/ Disintegration Consciousness: Confidence/ Confusion Spiritual: meaning Infinite: Good/ Evil Ideas: Truth/ Untruth Spirit: Meaning/ Futility Conscience: Right/ Wrong @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  47. 47. Engagement is key  We go towards the world or keep away  We flee, freeze, stay in place, or approach, loving or fighting with the world around us  We do this not only with other people  We do it with objects, animals, humans, our selves and also with ideas, expectations, hopes, fears and many other things  We are always in relationship and are more or less available and engaged @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  48. 48. Existential psychology is about a different way of life: a way of being. It is not just about knowledge You have to live it.@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  49. 49. Your future is as bright as your willingness to engage and learn @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  50. 50. Existential Therapy  Talking about your troubles is only helpful if you can talk through them in constructive dialogue taking you beyond blame and shame.  No pathology  Focus on Problems in Living  Philosophical view of human existence @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  51. 51. Landscapes of our life • Understand the Lebenswelt: the world in which we live. How do we co-constitute the world? @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  52. 52. Focus of existential therapy  Ontological questions  Addressed by tackling everyday ontic problems @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  53. 53. Definition  Existential therapy is a philosophical method of psychotherapy, which focuses on the clarification of human existence to enable a person to engage with problems in living in a creative, active and reflective manner in order to find new meaning and purpose.  @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  54. 54. Worldview  Existential therapy values the interactive, relational and embodied nature of human consciousness and human existence. It considers that human beings are free to effect change in their lives in a responsible, deliberate, ethical and thoughtful manner, by understanding their difficulties and by coming to terms with the possibilities and limitations of the human condition in general and of their own life in particular. It emphasizes the importance of finding meaning and purpose by engaging with life at many levels, physical, social, personal and spiritual. It does not prescribe a particular worldview but examines the tensions and contradictions in a person’s way of being. This will include a consideration of existential limits such as death, failure, weakness, guilt, anxiety and despair. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  55. 55. How does it work?  There are many forms of existential therapy and each has its own specific methods and ways of exploring difficulties and change, but all forms of existential therapy work with dialogue to enable a person to find their own authority in exploring their life and the way they want to live it. This will often involve a philosophical and ethical exploration of the big questions of human existence, such as truth, meaning, justice, beauty, freedom, consciousness, choice, responsibility, friendship and love. Existential therapy is a pragmatic and experiential approach which favours embodiment, emotional depth, clarity and directness and which employs the principles of logic, paradox, dialectics, phenomenology and hermeneutic exploration amongst other methods. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  56. 56. Aims  Existential therapists aim to approach a person’s un-ease or suffering in a phenomenological, holistic way. Symptoms are not seen as the defining aspect of a person’s troubles, but rather as an expression of the person’s disconnection from reality or as a way of coping with an existential crisis. A person’s experience will be considered at all levels and equal attention will be paid to a person’s past, present and future. Existential therapists facilitate a person’s greater awareness of their mode of being in the world, helping them to be more in touch with their concrete physicality, their interactions and relationships, their engagement with their own identity or lack of it, their concept of what grounds their being and the ways in which they may be able to bring the flow and their capacity for transcendence, learning and pleasurable forward movement back to life. It helps people to tolerate and embrace suffering and difficulty to engage with it constructively. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  57. 57. Training  Existential therapists are trained in specialist training programmes, that require four years of training at post-graduate level and which involve theoretical learning, skills training, practical learning under supervision, a process of personal therapy to learn to apply existential principles in practice and the completion of some form of phenomenological research project. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  58. 58. Buber’s encounter  The interhuman: das Zwischenmenschlichen; the in-between is where real communication takes place (Buber, Between Man and Man, 1929).  All actual life is encounter (ibid: 62)  This is where truth is found.  In inter-subjectivity we create the world in which we live together: I-It or I-Thou. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  59. 59. Directive or non directive?  The existential therapist is purposeful (directional) rather than directive. Also direct.  Directiveness denies autonomy and can easily lead to stagnation or rebellion  Non directiveness can lead to confusion and dependency  A productive therapeutic relationship will be challenging to both people  Clients will value a therapist who is willing to stand with them and who is able to teach them something new about life @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  60. 60. Later Sartre  I believe that a man can always make something out of what is made of him. This is the limit I would today accord to freedom: the small movement which makes of a totally conditioned social being someone who does not render back completely what his conditioning has given him. Which makes of Genet a poet when he had been rigorously conditioned to be a thief. (Between Existentialism and Marxism, 33-34.) @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  61. 61.  Man’s task is simple: he should cease letting his existence be a thoughtless accident Friedrich Nietzsche: The Gay Science @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  62. 62. We cannot avoid all danger and all problems and need to learn to cope with adversity and difficulties: life is a challenge  It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life.  Where you stumble lies your treasure  Joseph Campbell @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  63. 63. There is no abstract ethics. There is only an ethics in a situation and therefore it is concrete. (Sartre, Notes For an Ethics:17) Learning to live is a moral struggle @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  64. 64. Is human emotional suffering avoidable? Or does the road of life inevitably take us through lows and into dark and scary places? @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  65. 65. Is happiness desirable? Ordoesitsoftenusand stopusreflectonlife? @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  66. 66. Asking the Big Questions and learning to Reflect @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  67. 67. How to live? What is truth? What is the ultimate value of life? @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  68. 68. Nobody is spared crisis, Conflict or LOSS Are we ever prepared for the life changing challenges? @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  69. 69. Even if you play it safe and try to avoid catastrophes You still need courage and persistence to brave unexpected blows of fate: many respond with anxiety and depression @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  70. 70. Facts: depression  2-10% of European citizens experience depression related problems  Each year: 33.4 million Europeans suffer  Inability to feel pleasure, tiredness, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness and feelings of guilt  Most suicides (30-88%) related to it  60.000 deaths by suicide p.a. in the EU (2X > road acc)  Most common cause of disability in the world, strongly associated with heart disease in linear causal fashion  Total cost p/a: UK: £15 billion USA: $100 billion  Last decade: EU and WHO policy to promote mental health @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  71. 71. Facts: anxiety  Often considered in relation to stress  Estimated 15.7 million Americans are affected each year  12% of European population at any time  The core features of GAD are chronic (>6 months) anxious worrying with symptoms of hyper vigilance, hyper arousal and tension  International study: 5.6 to 18.1% for anxiety disorders, of which GAD and panic disorder together accounted for over half of the prevalence figures (Baumeister & Hartner, 2007).  But also Phobias, Panic, OCD, PTSD, SAD (social anx)  NICE figures: cost of anxiety in EU: 41 billion Euros (2004 prices)  Long term use of benzodiazepines (Xanax, Librium, Valium, Ativan): worsens it @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  72. 72. Size and burden of mental disorders  Most frequent disorders: anxiety (14%), insomnia (7%), major depression (6.9%), somatoform (6.3%), alcohol and drug dependency (4%), ADHD (5%) dementia (1-30%)  38.2%, i.e. 164.8 million persons affected per year.  Percentage of disorders of brain: 26.6%, headache, sleep apnoea, stroke (8.24), dementia, brain injury, epilepsy, parkinsons, ms, brain tumours (overlap) @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  73. 73. People crave happiness and want to eliminate their symptoms in 2010 some 16 million prescriptions were issued for anti-depressants in the UK: a 10% rise on the previous year. Iceland: 9% @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  74. 74. SSRIs: Happy pills? @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  75. 75. SSRIs as panacea especially with anxiety, but also NRIs and SNRIs selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (Fluoxetine, Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft) noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (Reboxetine, Edronax, Mazanor) Serotonine- norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (Venlafaxine) (anxiety, ADHD)  From 2006 to 2010: 43% increase in prescriptions for the SSRI antidepressants  2009 BMJ paper titled "Explaining the rise in antidepressant prescribing’’: SSRIs are given for all sorts of problems  2000-2005: already 36% increase in SSRI @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  76. 76. Unhappiness is not an illness Many people take the view they deserve happiness  On this view, things like love, friendship, meaningful activity, freedom, human development, or the appreciation of true beauty are ‘‘merely’’ instrumentally valuable for us, i.e. they are not good as ends but merely as means to the only thing that is good as an end, namely happiness. Bengt Brulde 2006. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  77. 77. Camus: Sisyphus’ plight Enable people to tackle the important issues  There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is … whether life is or is not worth living. (Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus)  Is rolling the stone up the hill sufficient to fill a human heart?: meaning is found because of challenges, not despite them @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  78. 78. Project: active transcendence  Man is characterized above all by his going beyond a situation and by what he succeeds in making of what he has been made.  This is what we call the project. (Sartre, Search for a Method:91) @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  79. 79. What happens when life is hard? Migrant mother in USA depression 1936 @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  80. 80. Buchenwald @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  81. 81. Survival is an issue@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  82. 82. Resilience  How do we overcome obstacles?  How do we survive difficulties, crises, trauma?  How do we rise above adversity?  Are there personal qualities that enable a person to be resilient?  Think about times in your life when you have faced adversity, difficulty or crisis.  How did you overcome them?@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  83. 83. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  84. 84. Being lost and finding something new  Heidegger’s aletheia (ἀλήθεια): truth means: unveiling the hidden  In loss we become homeless, Unheimlich and are forced to find ourselves for the first time. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  85. 85. Laing: Breakthrough in stead of breakdown.  Loss and transition are about breakdown of the old.  Instead of breaking down and becoming depressed it can mean we break through some block and move on to a next level.  In the process we become stronger.  We establish values that are more deeply rooted. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  86. 86. What is the harvest of our suffering?  Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked.  In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, p.172 @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  87. 87. Frankl’s way to meaning •Experiential values: what we take from the world. •Creative values: what we give to the world. •Attitudinal values : the way we deal with suffering. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  88. 88. How do we create meaning?  What is of most value in your life?  What would you give other things up for?  What would you give your life for? @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  89. 89. Layers of a person’s life. 4.Physical: Umwelt 3.Social: Mitwelt 2.Personal: Eigenwelt 1.Spiritual: Uberwelt @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  90. 90. Spiritual: Good/Evil Intuitions, values, beliefs, purpose, meaning. Worldview/Ideas. Personal: Strength/Weakness Thoughts, memories, identity, freedom. Selfhood/Me. Social: Love/Hate Feelings, relations, belonging, acknowledgement. Communication/Others. Physical: Life/Death Sensations, actions, environment, body, things. Survival/World. Dimensions of existence @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  91. 91. Emotions are our orientation.  Emotions are like the weather: never none.  They are the way we relate to the world.  They define the mood of the moment.  They are our atmosphere and modality.  They tell us how and where we are.  They show us what we want and don’t want  Learn to tune in rather than tune out. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  92. 92. We are lenses, prisms, the I is like the eye We refract light/life  We transform what we receive and either reflect it, absorb it, stop it, ward it off or pass it on in tact.  We can also learn to magnify and illuminate it, refracting all its facets @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  93. 93. Befindlichkeit  Befindlichkeit, attunement, disposition or state of mind: the way I find myself. The way I am situated in the world, disposed towards it. Affectedness: an implicit understanding of the world, not yet articulated. (later: understanding and language)  In an ontic fashion every moment of our experience will be coloured by a particular tonality, or mood (Stimmung). @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  94. 94. Different quality of experience at each dimension @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  95. 95. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  96. 96. How do we experience our world?  We are lenses, prisms for light to refract. We allow light through, reflect it, magnify it, block it, divert it. We change the tone and mood and affect the world in turn. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  97. 97. Tune into the feelings and moods that colour our worldview  They create different atmospheres at different times. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  98. 98. The colour of emotion @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  99. 99. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  100. 100. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  101. 101. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  102. 102. Depressed worldview @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  103. 103. Four kinds of emotions • Loss of value • Aspire to value • Threat to value • Gain value approach fight flightfreeze @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  104. 104. Threat to value: pride, jealousy, anger Pride Jealousy Anger @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  105. 105. Loss of value (despair, fear, sorrow): Despair, fear, sorrow @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  106. 106. Aspire to value: desire, envy, shame Desire Envy Shame @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  107. 107. Gain value: hope, love, joy Hope, love, joy @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  108. 108. pride jealousy anger- despair fear sorrowshame envy hope- desire love joy Sadness Low Happiness High Anxiety Excitement Engagement Depression Disappointment Disengagement @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  109. 109. Meaning and Purpose  Find out what the inner landscape of a person is: what is meaningful to them.  Find out what your purpose in life is. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  110. 110. Socrates The unreflective life is not worth living @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  111. 111. Aristotle  Eudaimonia: the good life : virtue ethics  Should benefit the community at large rather than only the individual  Philosophy teacher's discourse with the pupil (client) should be a co-operative, critical one that insists on the virtues of orderliness, deliberateness and clarity @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  112. 112. Aristotelian practice  Pupils are taught to separate true beliefs from false beliefs and to modify and transform their passions accordingly  Winnowing and sifting opinions  Virtue ethics: live in line with the demon: force, power, spirit. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  113. 113. Epicureans  The Epicureans seek to treat human suffering by removing corrupting desires and by eliminating pain and disturbance (ataraxia).  Adjust values retaining only those that are attainable and may bring pleasure.  Relinquish the unobtainable and adjust expectations to what is realistic, so that with a slight of hand we can obtain what we think we want. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  114. 114. Stoics: overcoming weakness  Ordering of the self and soul  Exercise of the mind  Lack of moral fibre and emotional weakness  Everything is connected, but Stoics consider that different temperaments need different approaches and that there is a critical moment (kairos) for change :  Zeno: virtue is its own reward @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  115. 115. Skeptics Pyrrho of Elis (c. 360-275 B.C.)  The Epicurean view is that pleasure is the only good and we are taught to adjust our needs so as to guarantee the procurement of pleasure from small natural resources.  Skeptics: the only way to stop pain and suffering is to simply not believe in or desire anything.  So whilst Epicureans try to get rid of false beliefs, the Skeptics want to get rid of all beliefs. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  116. 116. Stoic goal  For the Stoics the pupil's goal is to become his own teacher and pupil  In order to improve a person's life the soul must be exercised everyday, for instance by the use of logic and poetry  The objective is wisdom, the only ultimate value and virtue and leads to eudaimonia, the flourishing life: wisdom, courage, justice, temperance  The means: detachment and self-control : apathy @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  117. 117. Spinoza-ethics  Prop.VI. The mind has greater power over the emotions and is less subject thereto, in so far as it understands all things as necessary. (under a species of eternity) @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  118. 118. Sartre Theory of Emotions  The existence of desire as a human fact is sufficient to prove that human reality is a lack. (87)  Human reality is its own surpassing towards what it lacks; it surpasses itself toward the particular being which it would be if it were what it is. (89) @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  119. 119. Sartre’s emotional theory  Embodied human existence mobilizes itself towards or away from that which it desires or dreads.  We can do magic in letting ourselves fall into emotion, thus transforming the world in bad faith.  Difference between reflective and non reflective emotions. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  120. 120. Care Jealousy Anger Fear RejectionShame Envy Approval Love Acceptance Isolation Separateness Belonging Oneness Engagement Disengagement Emotional Compass @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  121. 121. Greed Stinginess Frustration Disgust PainNeed Craving Excitement Lust Pleasure Deprivation Emptiness Satisfaction Fullness Gain Survival surprise Loss Threat shock Sensory Compass @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  122. 122. Superiority Stubbornness Defiance Deflation HumiliationInferiority Anxiety Courage Commitment Confidence Imperfection Weakness Perfection Strength Success Failure Mental Compass @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  123. 123. Pride Prudence Wrath Resignation DisillusionmentGuilt Aspiration Hope Resoluteness Bliss Futility Absurdity Meaning Purpose Good Evil Moral Compass @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  124. 124. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  125. 125. We need problems and challenges: to learn and evolve  Camus:  In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer  Happiness is nothing except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  126. 126. Taoism: Yin (moon/dark/ female) and Yang (light/sun/male) @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  127. 127. Chiaroscuro, clair-obscur, the light and shade of life @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  128. 128. The art of living is to be equal to all emotions rather than to select only the pleasant ones @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  129. 129. Anxiety as source of energy Anxiety is life energy rather than a symptom of illness Anxiety individualizes. This individualization brings Dasein back from its falling, and makes manifest to it that authenticity and inauthenticity are possibilities of its Being. (Heidegger 1927:191 @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  130. 130. Making suffering meaningful  Processing is of prime importance.  Assimilate crisis and make it meaningful.  Process emotions, values, beliefs  Transcend and overcome.  Rise to the challenge  Find the purpose and meaning in the suffering @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  131. 131. Spiritual: Integrate what has happened in world view Improve rather than give up values, beliefs, purpose, meaning. Stick with what is true. Personal: Allow the event to strengthen your character Express thoughts and memories. Regain a sense of freedom in relation to adversit Learn to yield as well as be resolute. Social: Seek to go beyond hateful and destructive relations by isolation and avoidance t Reconciliation is possible. Seek belonging with like minded allies. Communicate your emotions without reproach, resentment, bitterness. Physical: Seek safety when under threat. Trust and heed sensations of stress. Find natural environment that can soothe as well as expand your horizons. OVERCOMING TRAUMA @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  132. 132. Loving your Life  Loving your fate and destiny in all its manifestations (Nietzsche’s Amor Fati)  Challenges and difficulties are not the enemy, nor to be avoided but rather to be welcomed as grist for the mill and par for the course: life as an adventure. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  133. 133. Bringing down emotional intensity: painting the world pale or in pastel shades @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  134. 134. Going beyond happiness  Happiness as a high is doomed: every high is followed by a low.  Constant pleasure leads to addiction and misery.  Happiness as contentment may be more feasible, but could easily lead to mediocrity and lack of awareness.  Beyond the quest for happiness is the quest for right living.  This is not just about meaning and purpose but about truth, being, nothingness, learning and evolution, dialectically integrating paradox. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  135. 135. What helps?  Those who have experienced trauma do better if they have good social support.  They do significantly better if they have integrity and a sense of wholeness. (to survive trauma you either need good conscience or no conscience at all…)  The conflict or trauma has to be put to good use.  There has to be a safe place one can retreat to.  It makes a big difference whether you can take some responsibility for your fate.  It helps if you feel your trauma is in some ways a proof of your character or a building block of it. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  136. 136. Project  Man is characterized above all by his going beyond a situation and by what he succeeds in making of what he has been made.  This going beyond we find at the very root of the human- in need. (scarcity)  This is what we call the project. (elementary objective, original intention) (Sartre, Search for a Method:91) @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  137. 137. Rita’s Grief  When I speak to Rita, who is grieving over her husband and small son who have perished in a car accident, the words that I say to her at first hardly reach her.  She is in a place of relative safety deep inside of herself, in a state of suspended animation behind the façade that she turns to the world. She barely engages with people at all. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  138. 138. Rita’s grief 2  At first it is not my words that make the link to her world, but the consistency that I can offer in being attentive and careful to not hurt her further or push her too hard.  I spend nearly half an hour in relative silence with Rita, at times formulating her fear on her behalf, gently, tentatively, checking for verification by noting her response. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  139. 139. Rita’s grief 3  Mostly the work consists of me letting myself be touched by her suffering and learning to tolerate her pain with her, so that I can offer reactions and words that soothe and move her forward to a place where she can begin to face what has happened to her so shockingly out of the blue. In this process she guides me and exposes more and more of her nightmarish universe to me as she perceives me as capable of venturing further into it with her. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  140. 140. Bringing down emotional intensity @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  141. 141. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  142. 142. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  143. 143. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  144. 144. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  145. 145. Rita World Physical Social Personal Spiritual Umwelt Take interest in objects, space Meet others Relate to own body again Recognize value Mitwelt Leave dead behind Love dead still Find self valid Find others valid Eigenwelt Recover sense of self care Rediscover love Love self Find project Uberwelt Make sense of disaster Life with others is worthwhile I am me and this matters There is a purpose to it all @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  146. 146. Overview of conflicts, challenges and paradoxes on four dimensions World Umwelt Mitwelt Eigenwelt Uberwelt Physical Nature: Life/ Death Things: Pleasure/ Pain Body: Health/ Illness Cosmos: Harmony/ Chaos Social Society: Love/ Hate Others: Dominance/S ubmission Ego: Acceptanc e/ Rejection Culture: Belonging/ Isolation Personal Person: Identity/Freed om Me: Perfection/ Imperfection Self: Integrity/ Disintegratio n Consciousness: Confidence/ Confusion Spiritual: Infinite: Good/ Evil Ideas: Truth/ Untruth Spirit: Meaning/ Futility Conscience: Right/ Wrong @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  147. 147. Dimension Positive Purpose Negative Concern Minimal Goal Optimal Value Physical: Health Illness Fitness Vitality Pleasure Pain Safety Well Being Strength Weakness Efficacy Ability Life Death Survival Existence Social Success Failure Skill Contribution Belonging Isolation Kinship Loyalty Acceptance Rejection Recognition Cooperation Love Hate Respect Reciprocity Personal Identity Confusion Individuality Integrity Perfection Imperfection Achievemen t Excellence Independenc e Dependenc y Autonomy Liberty Confidence Doubt Poise Clarity Spiritual Good Evil Responsibility Transparenc y @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  148. 148. Rising above your emotions  Above the clouds the weather is steady even when it rains below.  Transcending our own situation and emotions allows us to understand our own response. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  149. 149. Potentiality is more than actuality  From project to action in our own lives.  Plotting a route through the obstacles  Potentiality of past as well as of the present and future.  Living in time: transcendence @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  150. 150. Emotional well being and joy of living  An ability to creatively encounter problems, challenges and crises.  Capacity for re-establishing equilibrium through strong, dynamic centre of narrative gravity.  Enhanced enjoyment of life, appreciation of physical world, others, self-worth and meaning. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  151. 151. Rely on your capacity to face whatever may come. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  152. 152. Values and actions to aim for 1. Earning your keep with your own labour 2. Understanding others 3. Pondering your own motivations 4. Reflecting on your life 5. Living true to your own values 6. Living in line with the purpose and truth of human existence. 7. Contributing more to the world than you take from it. 8. Respecting nature and the universe 9. Making your life matter 10. Loving as much as you can. 11. Being prepared for change and transformation. 12. Knowing when to be resolute and when to let go. 13. Having rules to live by and change them when necessary. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  153. 153. Background action to make life right.  to be healthy and look after your body the best way possible.  to enjoy what is free in the world and be close to nature  to be loving with others and care for someone deeply.  to respect and esteem yourself and make sure others do too.  to find concrete goals worth putting your whole energy into.  to learn to question things and not take anything for granted  to find life interesting and relish every minute  to be prepared to let things go and be ready to die  to strive for wisdom and excellence  to be content and find routines that satisfy you  to achieve something, whatever, and leave the world a better place than you found it. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  154. 154. Optimal living All living things are struggling for existence, even unwittingly and unwillingly. They struggle passively just to exist, to be left in what seems to be peace and quiet; and they struggle actively to grow and to expand. (Jaspers,1951:204) @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  155. 155. Tillich, 1966:15  ‘Truth is found in the midst of struggle and destiny, not as Plato taught, in an unchanging beyond. ‘ (Tillich,1966:15) @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  156. 156. DESIRES FEARS VALUES PHYSICAL life death vitality SOCIAL love hate reciprocity PERSONAL identity freedom integrity SPIRITUAL good evil transparency Human values rediscovered. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  157. 157. Kierkegaard’s paradox  Personhood is a synthesis of possibility and necessity. Its continued existence is like breathing (respiration), which is an inhaling and exhaling.  Kierkegaard, Sickness unto Death: 40 @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  158. 158. Magritte: Empire of Lights. Learning to live with paradox and the tensions of life@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  159. 159. Checklist of existential therapy  1. Collaboration, liberty and equality  2. Uncovering the implicit  3. Themes and personal predicaments  4. Four worlds and emotional compass  5. Projects, values, fears and tensions  6. Complexity; connectivity  7. Structural analysis: clarity  8. Meanings: hermeneutics, heuristic practice  9. Paradoxes: positives and negatives  10. Dialectics: human evolution and transcendence  11. Liberation and freedom  12. Savouring life: both resolution and letting be.@Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  160. 160. @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  161. 161. When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. Ralph Waldo Emerson @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  162. 162. Eventually: Earth Rises again 1968 picture from Apollo mission @Emmy van Deurzen 2015
  163. 163. Facebook and LinkedIn: Existential Therapy@Emmy van Deurzen 2015

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