Existenzanalyse 1/2014


Svetlana N. Skvortsova, Vladimir B. Shumskiy

This article presents the results of a phenomenological study of dependence in close interpersonal relationships between men and women. Interviews were conducted with participants, who experience dependence in their close interpersonal relationships. These interviews were analyzed according to A. Giorgi’s phenomenological approach. From the analysis, a structural model of relationship dependence was derived, separating the stable from the variable components of dependence. Special attention was given in this study to the vicious cycle of “closeness–estrangement” which has been found to be specific to dependent relationships. The findings reveal a distinction between interpersonal dependence based on the type of deficiency that is being compensated by the partner.  The pattern of these deficiencies corresponds to the content of the fundamental existential motivations, formulated by A. Laengle: lack of support, lack of feeling of life, lack of self-acceptance and self-esteem. A frustration of the meaning dimension was present in all cases of dependence.

Keywords: dependence, existential fundamental motivation, interpersonal relationships, meaning, phenomenological analysis

Existential fulfillment for patients with multiple sclerosis

Karin Kalteis, Renate Lang, Alfried Längle

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system and connected with serious mental and social consequences. In matters of health, many affected persons are confronted with a diminished quality of life. The unpredictability of the course and the symptomatology pose a challenge to the way the illness is dealt with. The objective of this study was to raise existential and personal competencies of multiple sclerosis patients. The results were compared with a group of patients with internal diseases. The patients were significantly younger than the patients of the comparison group. On the whole, multiple sclerosis patients possess good existential and personal competencies enabling them to manage their illness. They merely differ from the comparison group in the subscale self-distancing. The burden caused by the symptomatology of the illness possibly limits the ability to establish self-distance.

Keywords: multiple sclerosis, chronic disease, Existential Analysis, existence scale, self-distance

Relationship between Existential Motivation and Depression

Vaida Mažonaitė, Paulius Skruibis

The aim of this research was to examine the relationship between depression and existential motivation. The Test of Existential Motivation (TEM – Längle & Eckhardt 2000) was used in this study. The psychometric characteristics of the test had been checked and they were found to be good. The test consists of four subtests corresponding to the four existential motivations – man‘s relationship with the world, it‘s reality and possibilities; life, the present relationships and feelings; being oneself as a unique, autonomous person; and meaning – circumstances and activities, enabling one to seek perfection. It was found that depressed people‘s existential motivation is lower than that of those without this diagnosis – statistically significant differences in assessment of the subtests and the entire test were found.

Keywords: depression, existential motivation, Test of Existential Motivation (TEM), psychometric characteristics


Aisha Bano

The present study aims to explore the impact of meaning in life on psychological well-being and stress among university students. Viktor Frankl’s paradigm provided the theoretical foundation for this study.  A sample of 560 university students was recruited from Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan. Data was collected using the Existence Scale (Längle, Orgler, & Kundi, 2003), Warwick-Edinburg Mental Well-Being Scale (Parkinson, 2006), and Stress Scale (Levibond & Levibond, 1995). Results of linear regression analysis revealed a high perception of meaning in life will lead to high psychological well-being and low stress among university students. In this research sample, t-test showed no statistically significant differences between men and women with respect to the meaning in life variable.

Key words: existential, meaning, psychological, stress, well-being

How do we know whether we are taking appropriate action in education?

Eva Maria Waibel

How do we know what matters in education and in school? For us as educators? For others, for example for children under our care? Are we ever in the position to decide, what is ‘right’ for others? How do we know whether our educational acts and approaches are ‘right’? And how can we help children, to find out for themselves what is ‘right’ for them? This leads to the question: Who or what is the appropriate yardstick for our values?

How certain can answers be? Which authorities can provide us with reliable information? Two paths lead to sustainable answers: on the one hand, components of ethics and on the other hand the concept of inner accordance, in other words, of conscience. Both play a major role in education. The article fundamentally approaches these questions, starting with ethics and general values, followed by inner accordance, which is reflected upon in ‘personalised’ values, and ends by drawing conclusions for educational practice.

Keywords: Value, Person, Legality, Morality, Existential Pedagogy

“Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad” (Epicurus) – existential consequences of mental illnesses

Klaudia Gennermann

Illness, as a difficult to define concept, is often understood in contrast to health. In order to look at this blurred and integral phenomenon it requires a detailed view on mild, severe and chronic illnesses and their existential consequences. Following a description of the psychosomatic and social aspects of illnesses, the special qualities of mental illness are elaborated and seen in the light of their existential consequences and developments.

Keywords: illness – health, psychosomatics, society, norm, mental illness, stigmatization, diagnosis

The unfavourable prognosis
Personal handling and finding existential hold in case of life-threatening diagnosis

Barbara Kernmayer

Obtaining an unfavourable prognosis represents a sudden threat that sets different mechanisms of fear in motion. The article deals with options of personal response, with psychodynamics and handling processes while referring to the four fundamental motivations, coping reactions and existential analytical psychotherapeutic approaches. Integration of fear and acceptance of the factual are the main approaches to address crisis.

Keywords: unfavourable prognosis, psychodynamics, coping reactions, mechanisms of fear

Life with the diagnosis cancer

Christina Strempfl

This thesis deals with existential topics in connection with cancer. This illness is mostly perceived as a borderline experience of existence, as a confrontation with death. It is about the process of finding a way to accept and integrate this illness and all the entailed anxiety in order to become free again for life. At first the diagnosis of cancer blocks the view on life, because the question arises how to carry on living with the prospect of death so close. It is depicted which personal existential opportunities there lay in this shock for again plucking up the courage to enter into a relationship with oneself und life along with the resultant anxiety and vulnerability.

The necessary personal process is described for arriving at a confident and relaxed life together with the illness, where death and parting are no longer experienced as destructive.

Keywords: anxiety, cancer, existential shock, death, confidence

Dialog with my body
Experiences and reflections on an existential analytical pain therapy

Rupert Dinhobl

Intention of this article is to outline a processual pain therapy against the background of the Personal Existential Analysis according to Längle, on the basis of experiences with pain patients in a suicide prevention station (psychiatry, Christian-Doppler-Klinik, Salzburg). It is remarkable how well the basics of our existential analytical therapy can be implemented in pain therapy.

Keywords: pain, pain therapy, Personal Existential Analysis

Accepting chronic disease as an existential challenge

Elisabeth Petrow

To learn to accept a chronic disease is often a lifelong process, which can begin with a profound shock from encountering a limit situation (Jasper’s “Grenzsituation”). The conscious and determined handling of this situation and the changes in life resulting from the illness can enable the afflicted person to come into one’s own existence.

Keywords: acceptance, suffering, limit situation (Grenzsituation), biographical integration

To be able to do what we want, we must want what we are able to do.
Tasks and work in disease management for chronic diseases

Joachim Schmidt

The ancient concept in the title, which was handed down to us from the Stoicism, expresses a dilemma people face when confronting the challenges in their lives: what one wants to do does not correspond with what one is capable of, but must be brought in line in the end. This is always the case, but emerges as a main task in life particularly when dealing with impairments and disabilities. Disease management is “work on oneself” and must again and again be accomplished and lived anew in coordination with the course of the disease. In the following, a working model is sketched and explained.

Keywords: acceptance, biography, identity, disease management, fate

Dementia-patients and their care-giving relatives

Christine Schnaiter

Many people over 60 years suffer from a progressive disturbance of memory, concentration, orientation and mental abilities. This leads to a reduced capability to deal with everyday life and in the advanced stage to “dementia”. The most common form is Alzheimer’s disease. Most people with dementia are cared for at home by family members. That is a constant burden to partners and family, who therefore need support. Self-help-groups for relatives are an important forum to get information and counselling and to talk about problems and experiences. Existential Analysis can make an important contribution. With the four fundamental motivations, the theory of values and the concept of life’s meaning, a good framework can be created to allow both the families and the patients a better quality of life and life management.

Keywords: dementia, Existential Analysis, support, quality of life, care-giving relatives

„Give me ten million dollars and I find you a cure“

Rudolf Wagner in a conversation with Gerald Fischer

In this discussion about rare diseases, pulmonary hypertension, the shock of diagnosis, mobilization of resources and visible success – for the own daughter and in European health care policy – a person directly concerned provides an insight.

Keywords: accepting, rare chronic disease, interest representation, lobbying, self help

Images of a path
Psychotherapy of a mentally handicapped woman
Working with an existential analytical art therapy

Elisabeth Koch

This article describes the treatment of a 50-year-old, mentally disabled woman, with an optimal combination of art therapy and Existential Analysis. As a non-verbal form of expression, art therapy complements Existential Analysis especially in the experience of movement and being moved, bodily perception, retrieving emotion and experiencing values. It opens up space for skills, which is also space for an encounter with yourself and others.

Keywords: mental handicap, case description, art therapy, Existential Analysis

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