Existenzanalyse 2/2021

The ability to follow what is one’s own

How is authenticity achieved in at the present time?

Christoph Kolbe

Human beings cannot escape the necessity to take life into the hands and to form it. How is this possible facing the complexity of our world and its rapid developments? Aside the clarification of existential analytical understanding of authenticity as well as the detailed presentation of specific characteristics of our times, the manner how we can deal constructively and authentically with its challenges in order to lead a self-determined and fulfilled life is shown.

Keywords: authenticity, coherency, being true, conscience, society, person

From the „I in the We“ to the “We of the other and alien” – and back

Phenomenological aspects and therapeutic potentials of intercultural encounters

Georg Stenger

The traditions of philosophy and of various therapy-concepts agree that they are founded upon “therapeutic fundaments”, theoretically as much as practically. My contribution wants to highlight this particular relationship, because it often is ignored in philosophy. Nevertheless, conceptual self-clarification on the one side, and practically implemented space of consultation between therapist and patient on the other side, do not differ as much as one might think when it comes to path and destination. In this sense, therapies are support, promotion, even liberation of the human being with regard to its social and individual depth structures. This is not merely evident in the so-called western hemisphere; it also proves to be fundamental in (East) Asian contexts. In this respect, my contribution follows a few stretches of the way on which topoi such as “I” and “self”, “We” and “others” pertaining to “foreign”, “existence” and “meaning”, “situativity” and “depth structures” emerge in their reciprocal forms of conditionality and constitutional processes. References to the concepts of Viktor E. Frankl und Kimura Bin wish to point out that these fundamentals and insights are of cross-cultural importance.

Keywords: I, self, existence, meaning, We, alien experience, situation(al network), between

Placing the finger in the wound

Taking a stance for the integration of pain

Karin Steinert

Hysteria is a disorder which is concealed behind other diagnoses, most preferably behind those meeting current trends. Currently, trauma and trauma therapy evoke great interest, with sometimes inflationary character, in therapeutic landscape. Due to this, injuries are often confused with traumatisation, sometimes leading to situations in which solely injuries are provided for, without touching underlying pain. But without touching the pain, there is no way out of hysteria. In this article, the difference between injury and trauma is illuminated, and a way of dealing with mental pain in therapeutic practice is discussed.

Keywords: hysteria, pain, trauma

Being hysterical

Main features of experiencing and treatment of inner lostness – A discussion

Renate Bukovski, Alfried Längle

Hysterical behavior patterns and personality traits are widely spread among the population. Due to their genuine adaptability to the social surrounding they often aren’t noticeable as such, but rather hidden in social togetherness and hard to recognize, even though they definitely can cause problems. Individual traits naturally are less conspicuous than the complete spectrum of the histrionic disorder. But the full image of the histrionic personality disorder is much rarer than the occurrence of individual behavior patterns or personality traits and is more seldom diagnosed these days. Frequently it is hidden behind other diagnoses.

This discussion is meant to demonstrate the main features of hysterical experiencing and behavior, explain its dynamics, and accordingly point out the most significant elements of therapeutic proceedings. In doing so, an image of underlying pain-dynamics oriented on experiencing will be shown, rendering more plausible the necessary way to deal with it in treatment from an existential analytical point of view and making it easier to access emotionally.

Keywords: Hysteria, diagnosis, therapy, society

Childhood today – a piece of cake?

Brigitta Mühlbacher

In childhood, we humans make fundamental experiences which form the whole rest of our lives. Insofar it is essential in which social and family conditions children grow up. However, our society has changed significantly due to pluralization, globalization and digitalization, and so have family structures as well as living environments for children. This is a major challenge for parents and children, and it entails opportunities as well as new problems and dangers. What do children need in order to manage in this agile society, in order to be allowed being a child light-heartedly, and what do they need for growing up to become authentic individuals?

Keywords: childhood, children, family, parenthood, digital media, authenticity

Paths towards authenticity of companies

Experiences with existential analytical approaches in management

Rainer Kinast

It may be crucial to success whether the performance of a company with its customers and in particular on the personnel market appears trustworthy and therefore authentic. Existential Analysis – complementary to systemic management thinking – can make a significant contribution to achieve this success. The following two theses are illuminated with existential analytical theory and verified by experiences from practice: Pointedly working on values in companies encourages identification of employees with the company as well as an authentic impact of the company (thesis 1). Prerequisite to the identification of employees and to trustworthy authenticity of a company is a leadership culture which promotes personally responsible action of its employees (thesis 2).

Keywords: company values, personally responsible involvement, leadership culture, identification with the company, authenticity of companies

Repressed being-oneself

Doris Fischer-Danzinger, Barbara Gawel

There are many reasons for not being able to live one’s own being-oneself. For instance, a continuous oppression of a child’s liveliness by close reference persons can hinder the unfolding of what is one’s own. The development of symptoms, such as anxiety, aggression, depressive experiencing, devaluation of oneself and devaluation of others can re-shape immature fragility.

The demonstration in the course of the congress outlines how Existential Analysis guides a patient towards perceiving what is inside, towards finding into an inner dialogue, taking responsibility for oneself and towards entering authentic action.

Keywords: being oneself, aggression, depressive experiencing, devaluation, dialogue

Hysteria and Narcissism in the light of agile society

Barbara Jöbstl

Hysteria and Narcissism are characterized by attributes such as extroversion, effect, charm, art of seduction, willingness to perform, sense of purpose, flexibility, appeal to audience, and much more. As traits of personality they constitute resources which are very welcome in our agile society. As a form of disorder of the self they cause suffering, since the ability which resides in these features follow a psychodynamic must.

This contribution will illuminate if and how the genesis and maintenance of the disorder is promoted and encouraged by our agile society.

As an introduction, the conditions for development of self-value are schematically depicted, followed by the description of clinical pictures of hysterical and narcissist personality disorder, also referring to the specific abilities of this type of personality.

After the detailed description of reciprocal effects between society with its narcissist-hysterical phenomena – individual – upbringing and becoming of self or successful and unsuccessful formation of self-worth and discovery of the ego, central elements of the therapy of this disorder are briefly pointed out. Finally, the theoretical considerations become livelier through a brief case vignette.

Keywords: Hysteria, Narcissism, development of self-worth and formation of the ego, agile society, upbringing

Does illness render (more) authentic?

Elisabeth Petrow

Astonishingly many people agree to the question asked in the title. In contrast, the relationship between illness and authenticity proves to be complex and ambivalent on closer inspection. Illness may profoundly change the feeling for one’s own identity to such an extent, that a coherent being-in-the-world, and equally a coherent being-with-oneself temporarily or permanently no longer can be achieved. Nevertheless, a severe illness may turn out to be an access to more authenticity if one is able to find the courage to engage with the numerous inquiries of this turning point in life and to respond with one’s own non-transferable answer.

Keywords: authenticity, illness, identity with oneself

“But then it’s my “inner beast” which protects ME!

How the anger of young people can lead them to their ego

In this work, the hypothesis is pursued whether the adolescent process of finding ones ego can be supported by dealing with feelings of anger and ire.

The first step is a discussion of the existential analytical understanding of aggression and the neuropsychological changes in the brain of a growing up person, and transferring this from theory into practice, the second step describes a case in detail.

Keywords: self-awareness, aggression, adolescence, case study

Research and psychotherapeutic practice – how does this go together? 

How research can support existential analytical practice

Silvia Längle, Astrid Görtz und Clemens Fartacek

The study of independent practice is crucial to psychotherapeutic research since it examines psychotherapeutic work in the location it should become effective. However, many psychotherapists see this participation in research as an additional burden without any direct benefits for their work. Three research approaches are presented here with regard to the advantage psychotherapists achieve by participating in this research. Thus, phenomenological-hermeneutical analysis, qualitative individual case research and the individual case study based on time series are outlined in their value for the quality of practical therapeutic work.

Keywords: qualitative psychotherapy research, phenomenological-hermeneutical analysis, individual case study based on time series, perspective of clients

Personal incarnation of the ego in the self

From the ego to the self to the we

Emmanuel J. Bauer

The ego stays an empty formal structure (transcendental ego of Kant) or an isolated egocentric monad, at best a narcissistic subject, as long as it doesn’t become an ego-self. As a self, the ego so to speak becomes “flesh”, it gains personal structure and reality. For, only as a socially interconnected self the person can become a location of meaning and fulfillment.

The article wants to illuminate the personal-dialogical internal structure of the ego-self and the specific circumstances and possibilities for its social embedment under the conditions of today’s society.

Keywords: ego-assertion, self-assertion, being we, person, pausing for a moment

Am I allowed to be the way I am?

Personal challenges for each of us in modern democracy

Cristina Bacher-Rieger

Our liberal democracy is based on the principle of freedom and responsibility of its citizens; the state should only offer the protective framework for their development. However, many people today feel overwhelmed and not seen. Alienation between individuals, society and politics can be felt.

On the basis of well-known thinkers from the last hundred years, I invite the reader to a personal confrontation with different perspectives on this topic in general and specially in the current context of the challenges posed by the corona pandemic. Finally, I propose the thesis that Existential Analysis, in dialogical exchange with itself and the world – especially here – can make a socially and politically relevant contribution.

KEYWORDS: Social self-confidence, personal responsibility, transcendence, freedom, dialogical exchange, conscience, ‘being-allowed-to-be’

Aspects of dignity in (post-)liberalism from an Existential Analysis perspective

Andreas Loretz

In the year 2018, a review in „Spektrum der Wissenschaft“ discussed the newly published books „Identity“ from Francis Fukuyama and „21 lessons for the 21st century“ from Yuval Harari which both deal with the crisis of liberal democracy. The review identifies a common conclusion they both achieve in despite of their different points of view, seeing this crisis among other reasons rooted in the danger of becoming invisible for the individual and therefore losing its dignity. This article pursues the arguments brought forward concerning the transformation of liberalism and reflects upon the postulated aspect of loss of dignity from the point of view of Existential Analysis.

Keywords: Liberalism, dignity, transformation, individual, inner self, identity

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