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Chapter 14

Chapter 14 - Existential Psychoanalysis.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Marc A Fournier

Chapter 14 – Existential Psychoanalysis  Both existential and psychoanalysis theories stem from understanding of anxiety, despair and alienation The Existential Attitude  Existentialism focuses on the human being as he/she is emerging or becoming o Understand human beings in terms of drives and forces  Western philosophy concentrates on essence of being, the laws that are believed to govern existence  “We are participants in the game”  May believed that when we are using abstract concepts we are not talking about the real person  Believed preoccupation with lawfulness and predictability stands in the way of understanding the real person  Seeks to explain simpler things with more complex terms  Deals with the knowledge of what it means to be human  Existentialism resists objectivity, because some truths such as understanding what it means to be, are found through personal involvement  Believe that human knowledge is ultimately interpersonal Our Predicament  May believed the central problem we face is powerlessness Powerlessness  With increased technology power has become impersonal acting on its own behalf  The fear of nuclear war is a prime example  Our powerlessness leads to anxiety, and also breeds violence Anxiety  May believed people use the word stress in place of anxiety because it comes from engineering/physics and can be defined/measured accurately and easily  Defined anxiety as apprehension by a threat to some value an individual holds essential to their existence  Anxiety is innate and the distinction between self and object breaks down  Fear is an expression of anxiety in an objectified form  Anxiety is intensified in our competitive culture, where the self is viewed as an object and self validation depends on winning  Our attempts to dispel anxiety actually increase it – drugs, alcohol, etc. The Loss of Values  We have lost the value of individualism and have become estranged from nature and each other  We need to discover a new set of values, that are established through the course of our existence o The choice is ours and so is the responsibility Rediscovering Selfhood  Consciousness of the self allows us to distinguish between ourselves and the world, to learn from the past, to plan, to see ourselves as others do, and to have empathy for others  Self consciousness may create anxiety because we must stand on our own and develop our own identity that is separate from our parents  Human beings grown through choice and affirmation  Selfhood grows through interpersonal relations  May, Rogers, and Maslow all thought that not studying the self,, is to miss an important feature of human experience Ontological Assumptions Concerning the Person  May made philosophical assumptions on an ontological level – the level of being o All organisms are centered in themselves, and seek to preserve that center o Humans have the need and possibility of going out of their centeredness to participate with others o Sickness is a method to preserve out being even though it may be limiting o Human beings have a self consciousness with the ability to transcened the immediate situation and consider a wider range of possibilities  Unconscious experience is experiences that an individual cannot actualize  Saw Oedipus’s exile as showing that we are aware of our responsibility for our own life, so we can confront life and death Four Stages of Consciousness of Self  Stage of innocence – is when you are an infant  Stage of rebellion – seek to establish an inner strength  Ordinary consciousness of self – learning from mistakes and living responsibly  Creative consciousness of self – ability to see something outside of usual viewpoint and gain a glimpse of ultimate truth o Alot like maslow’s peak experiences Goals of Integration  Paradox is two opposing things that cannot exist without each other The Diamonic  Diamonic is anything that has the power to take over the whole person
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