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An overview of the positive role of anxiety, and how the work of modern European philosophers can inform a unique approach to helping people face up to, and therefore work through, their fear of fear

An overview of the positive role of anxiety, and how the work of modern European philosophers can inform a unique approach to helping people face up to, and therefore work through, their fear of fear

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  • 1. Existential Therapy and Anxiety Danish Psychological Association Vingsted Centret, Sept 2010
    • Emmy van Deurzen
  • 2. Emmy van Deurzen
    • Visiting Professor Middlesex University
    • Director Dilemma Consultancy
    • Director Existential Academy
    • Director New School of Psychotherapy
    • and Counselling-London
  • 3. www.existentialpsychotherapy.net www.dilemmas.org www.nspc.org.uk www.existentialacademy.com Facebook group: Existential Therapy
  • 4. Author of Books on Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling
  • 5. Existential Supervision
    • Edited by Emmy van Deurzen and Sarah Young
  • 6. RECENT BOOK: 2009
  • 7. 2010: 1. Second Edition Everyday Mysteries 2. Skills in Existential Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • 8. Forthcoming
    • Emotional Well Being and Health, with Digby Tantam, London: Sage, 2011
  • 9. Other books underway
    • Existential relationship work (co-ed with Susan Iacovou)
    • Existential coaching (co-ed with Monica Hanaway)
    • Third edition: Existential Counselling and Psychotherapy in Practice
  • 10. Today: introduction to existential ideas and their relevance to understanding anxiety
    • Fear: in relation to a specific object:
    • fight, flight, freeze
    • Anxiety: in relation to nothing: dizziness of freedom
    • Dialectical relation with depression
    • Reference to life itself
  • 11.
    • Socrates: the unreflected life is not worth living. The good life is passionately lived.
    What does it mean to live well?
  • 12. Not in the sense of martyrdom, sacrifice and suffering: not being burnt by anxiety
  • 13. In the sense of living life to the full in all its stark reality, contrast and contradictions, in harmony with our anxiety
  • 14. Camus: Sisyphus
    • 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?
  • 15. Dark ages of therapy: blind leading the blind: do we really know how to live and how to be with anxiety and depression?
  • 16. Descartes’ belief in doubt. 1596-1650 I realized that it was necessary, once in the course of my life, to demolish everything completely and start again right from the foundations if I wanted to establish anything at all. (Meditations II, p.12.)
  • 17. Descartes worldview: doubt=thought cogito ergo sum
  • 18. “ THE ROOTS ARE METAPHYSICS, THE TRUNK IS PHYSICS, AND THE BRANCHES EMERGING FROM THE TRUNK ARE ALL THE OTHER SCIENCES, WHICH MAY BE REDUCED TO THREE PRINCIPAL ONES, NAMELY MEDICINE, MECHANICS AND MORALS”
    • Descartes: principles of philosophy:
    • tree of philosophy
  • 19. School of Life
  • 20. Psychotherapy as a beacon
    • ‘ perhaps the relationship between the modern psychotherapist and his patient is a beacon that ever-increasing numbers of men will find themselves forced to follow, lest they become spiritually enslaved or physically destroyed’ (Szasz 1962:272).
  • 21. Existential Approach The existential approach to counselling and psychotherapy is a philosophical method for understanding human difficulties.
  • 22. HUMAN CONDITION It focuses on the way in which the individual struggles with the human condition and in particular with our inevitable limitations: only if we deal with the negatives are the positives on option: paradox and conflict are central to the approach.
  • 23. Can we have enduring happiness ?
    • Happiness and unhappiness are twins that grow up together. (Nietzsche, 1882: 270)
    • We need to get to know both sides of life.
    • Only if we face our anxiety can we find peace as well
  • 24. Neither positive nor negative
  • 25. What is paradox in therapy?
    • 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
  • 26. Making sense of life
  • 27. Energy is the flow between two poles Source: kidzoneweather.com
  • 28. Dialectics: transcendence in time Synthesis: a wider view future Thesis: my view (past ) Antithesis: your view (present)
  • 29. Dialectics
    • Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.
    • Human evolution proceeds with constant conflict and forward movement in overcoming a previous state.
    • Paradoxes and dilemmas
    • can be integrated
    • and gone beyond.
  • 30. Dialectics Transcendence Thesis Antithesis Synthesis
  • 31. Dimensions and Tensions of Human Existence Desires Fears Physical (earth) Life pleasure Death pain Social (world) Love belonging Hate isolation Personal (man) Identity integrity Freedom disintegration Spiritual (gods) Good purpose Evil futility
  • 32. Human values rediscovered.   DESIRES FEARS VALUES PHYSICAL life death vitality SOCIAL love hate reciprocity PERSONAL identity freedom integrity SPIRITUAL good evil transparency
  • 33. Aim of existential therapy.
    • Enable clients to tell the truth about their lives and themselves.
    • Help them live passionately and to the full.
    • Facilitate their greater understanding of the human condition and its contradictions.
    • Recognize strengths and weaknesses and make the most of both.
    • Learn to feel confident about living no matter what may come
    • Tolerate anxiety
  • 34. Existential approach not a technique
    • It is a worldview
    • Integration of method
    • Addresses universal problems
    • Provides philosophical questioning and logic tools
    • Non prescriptive
    • Open to how life is actually experienced
  • 35. Life as the guide and the goal.
    • What are the life issues this client is preoccupied with?
    • What understanding of these does the therapist have?
    • What are the client’s values and project?
    • How can
    • I enhance
    • my own
    • engagement
    • with these
    • issues, values and projects?
  • 36. Questions instead of answers
    • What does it mean to be alive? Who am I? What is the purpose of my existence? How should we live? What can I hope to achieve? Is happiness possible? What is expected of me? How should I act and be in relation to other people? Is there fairness in the world? Can I make a change for the better? Is it possible to understand life and get a grip on it? Can I find ways of overcoming my troubles? Is it necessary to suffer this much? How can I be a better person and live a worthwhile life?
  • 37. Paradoxes of human existence
  • 38. Exercise
    • Make a list of six different identities, characteristics or talents you think you have.
    • For example:• parent• gardener• bi-lingual • son/daughter • therapist • student
  • 39. Exercise
    • Think of a time when you were mistaken about your evaluation of someone: let yourself think back to how this mistaken judgement came about, without judging yourself.
    • Just observe the process of your own assumptions and prejudice: do you feel the anxiety involved in challenging your assumptions?
    • • • • What principles do you use to guide your decisions?
  • 40. The negatives that are positives
    • Anxiety far from being something to shun and treat as a symptom to eliminate is the source of energy that makes us come to life: it is the feeling of being opened up to life and sensing our responsibility in the face of the abyss.
    • Our capacity for despair is what makes us deep and capable of feeling, empathy and creativity
    • Without suffering our lives would have less meaning
    • To be human is to be conscious and be aware of lack, trouble, difficulty and strife.
  • 41. Images of happiness
    • Walhalla, Utopia, el Dorado, Garden of Eden, Nirvana, Land of the Lotus eaters
  • 42. Tree of Knowledge and Exile from Paradise: human evolution.
    • Man rejected happiness of Eden in order to explore life and labour.
    • Return to Eden is not the objective. To understand the contrast of good and evil is to live with consciousness.
  • 43. Soren Kierkegaard 1813-1855
  • 44. Kierkegaard’s stages.
    • Vegetative
    • Animal
    • Aesthetic
    • Ethical
    • Thinking
    • Doubt
    • Leap of Faith
    • Spiritual
  • 45. Kierkegaard
    • Anxiety may be compared with dizziness. He whose eye happens to look down into the yawning abyss becomes dizzy. But what is the reason for this? It is just as much in his own eye as in the abyss, for suppose he had not looked down. Hence anxiety is the dizziness of freedom, which emerges when the spirit wants to posit the synthesis and the freedom looks down into its own possibility, laying hold of finiteness to support itself. (61)
  • 46. Losing yourself
    • The greatest hazard of all, losing oneself, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly. Any other loss- an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. is sure to be noticed. (Kierkegaard: Sickness unto Death:32)
  • 47. Kierkegaard’s definition
    • Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.
    • ‘ Whoever has learnt to be anxious in the right way has learnt the ultimate.’
    • (Kierkegaard 1844:155)
  • 48. Ronald D. Laing 1927-1989
    • The Divided Self (1959), The Self and Others (1962), The Politics of Experience (1967), The Politics of the Family (1969), and Knots (1971), poems.
  • 49. Laing’s ontological insecurity.
    • ‘ The individual in the ordinary circumstances of living may feel more unreal than real; in a literal sense, more dead than alive; precariously differentiated from the rest of the world, so that his identity and autonomy are always in question. (Laing, 1960: 42.)
  • 50. Consequences of insecurity
          • Engulfment: feeling overwhelmed.
          • Implosion: feeling unreal and empty.
          • Petrification: turning to stone.
  • 51. Looking on the bright side
  • 52. Breakthrough instead of breakdown
    • Conflicts are potential points of transformation and improvement of ourselves and our relationships so we need to be able to learn from our conflicts .
    • Psychotherapy must remain an obstinate attempt of two people to recover the wholeness of being human through the relationship between them. (R.D. Laing, 1967:45)
  • 53. 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.
  • 54. Isolation
    • There is no such thing as a separate human being, in the same way in which as Winnicott suggested there is no such thing as a baby.
    • We are only what we are in as much as we are connected to a world.
  • 55. All living is relating
    • Physical: relationships to nature, world of things and bodies around us
    • Social: relationships to other people
    • Personal: relationship to ourselves, our thoughts, dreams, memories and fantasies
    • Spiritual: relationships to ideas, beliefs, transcendence and eternity
  • 56. Different dimensions of the four spheres of existence Umwelt Mitwelt Eigenwelt Uberwelt Physical survival Nature Things Body Cosmos Social affiliation Public Others Ego Culture Personal identity Private Me Self Consciousness Spiritual meaning Sacred God Soul Transcendence
  • 57. Get structural overview of client’s life and connections
    • Umwelt: understand physical context and embodiment: person’s relation to the world around them.
    • Mitwelt: describe and take into account the social, cultural and political dimension of the client’s life.
    • Eigenwelt: read and understand the text of the client’s life, find the narrative point of gravity. Who do they think they are?
    • Uberwelt: recognize worldview and values: what is the purpose of the person’s life?
  • 58. Exercise
    • What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the idea of freedom?
    • Describe a recent time when things did not go the way you wished. How did it feel?
    • Describe the last time you experienced acute anxiety
    • Describe being bored.
  • 59. Being-in-the-world
  • 60. Freedom and nothingness. This freedom which reveals itself to us in anguish can be characterised by the existence of that nothing which insinuates itself between motives and act. (Sartre 1943:35)  
  • 61. Living with illusion. Magritte’s Blanc Seing.
  • 62. Authority over the illusions of our lives: we are nothing and this makes us anxious
    •  
      • In this sense it is necessary that we make ourselves what we are. But what are we then if we have the constant obligation to make ourselves what we are….? Man is the being through whom nothingness comes to the world. (Sartre, 1943:59)
  • 63. Sartre’s make believe
    • We can be nothing without playing at being (Sartre, B&N: 83)
  • 64. Self-deception: Magritte’s l’homme.
  • 65. Van Ostade: the Alchemist Manipulating the world.
  • 66. Sartre’s view on self-deception
    • The one who practises bad faith is hiding a displeasing truth or presenting as truth a pleasing untruth. (Sartre 1943:49).
    •  
  • 67. Inventing Human Reality We have to deal with human reality as a being which is what it is not and which is not what it is. (Sartre B&N:58) Leonardo da Vinci: human figure .
  • 68. Brueghel: Icarus’ fall: the reality of human limitations.
  • 69. Martin Heidegger: 1889-1976
    • Being and Time: 1927.
  • 70. Millais’ Ophelia self-forgetfulness
  • 71. A lucid view: Magritte : homesickness for what we do not know.
  • 72. World absorption . .a distinctive kind of Being-in-the-World - the kind which is completely fascinated by the ‘world’ and by the Dasein-with of Others in the “they”. Not-Being-its-self functions as a positive possibility of that entity which, in its essential concern, is absorbed in a world. (Heidegger 1927:176)  
  • 73. Tranquillizing   The supposition of the “they” that one is leading and sustaining a full and genuine ‘life’ brings Dasein a tranquillity , for which everything is ‘in the best of order’ and all doors are open. Falling being-in-the-world, which tempts itself, is at the same time tranquillizing . (Heidegger 1927:177)  
  • 74. Self-dissection Yet this alienation cannot mean that Dasein gets factically torn away from itself. On the contrary, this alienation drives it into a kind of Being which borders on the most exaggerated ‘self-dissection’, tempting itself with all possibilities of explanation, so that the very ‘characterologies’ and ‘typologies’ which it has brought about are themselves already becoming something that cannot be surveyed at a glance. (Heidegger 1927:178)
  • 75. Heidegger’s falling. The alienation of falling-at once tempting and tranquillizing-leads by its own movement, to Dasein’s getting entangled in itself. (Heidegger 1927:178)
  • 76. Concealments If Dasein discovers the world in its own way and brings it close, if it discloses to itself its own authentic Being, then this discovery of the ‘world’ and this disclosure of Dasein are always accomplished as a clearing-away of concealments and obscurities, as a breaking up of the disguises with which Dasein bars its own way. (Heidegger 1927:167)  
  • 77. Heidegger and anxiety
    • 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)
    •  
  • 78. Bellini : Agony in the garden.
  • 79. Forgetting: going to work. A specific kind of forgetting is essential for the temporality that is constitutive for letting something be involved. The Self must forget itself if, lost in the world of equipment, it is to be able ‘actually’ to go to work and manipulate something. (Heidegger 1927:354)
  • 80. Unheimlichkeit The call ‘says’ nothing, which might be talked about, gives no information about events. The call points forward to Dasein’s potentiality-for-Being, and it does this as a call which comes from uncanniness.(Heidegger 1927:280)  
  • 81. Heidegger’s unheimlichkeit
    • In anxiety one feels ‘uncanny’. Here the peculiar indefiniteness of that which Dasein finds itself alongside in anxiety, comes proximally to expression: the “nothing and nowhere”. But here “uncanniness” also means “not-being-at-home”. (Heidegger, 1927:188)
    •  
    • From an existential-ontological point of view, the “not-at-home” must be conceived as the more primordial phenomenon.’ (Heidegger, 1927:189 )
  • 82. Not at home: Millet’s angelus.
    •  
  • 83. Resoluteness Resoluteness constitutes the loyalty of existence to its own Self (Heidegger 1927:391) The resolute rapture which carries us away in the moment of vision is what makes an authentic future possible (Heidegger 1927:338)  
  • 84. Covering up ‘ Being false’ (  ) amounts to deceiving in the sense of covering up (verdecken) : putting something in front of something (in such a ways as to let it be seen) and thereby passing it off as something which it is not . (Heidegger 1927:33)  
  • 85. Opaqueness On the other hand, Dasein’s opaqueness [Undurchsichtigkeit] is not rooted primarily and solely in ‘egocentric’ self-deceptions; it is rooted just as much in lack of acquaintance with the world. (Heidegger 1927:146)  
  • 86.       Inauthenticity Basic principle Truth Untruth Dasein’s intention Coming to itself Backing away from itself Dasein’s basic objective Being-towards-Death Comfort seeking/shirking Fundamental ability Disclosing Closing off Relation to the world Uncovering Covering up Dasein’s awakening Facing anxiety Tranquillizing Dasein’s cognition Transparency O Authenticity   paqueness Dasein’s attitude to itself Ownmost potentiality-for-being-oneself Self-forgetfulness Dasein’s struggle Call of conscience Falling-Dispersion-the They Relationship to the future Resoluteness Irresoluteness Ultimate position Moment of Vision Indifference
  • 87. Refusing truth … the condition of there being truth is the perpetual possibility of refusing it. (Sartre 1992:27).
  • 88. Rembrand:Sacrifice of Isaac Fear and Trembling: being tested.
  • 89. Despair and Death: De la Roche: Christian Martyr.
  • 90. Sartre’s lucidity
    •  
    • A lucid view of the darkest situation is already, in itself, an act of optimism. Indeed, it implies that this situation is thinkable ;
    • that is to say, we have not lost our way in it as though in a dark forest, and we can on the contrary detach ourselves from it, at least in mind, and keep it under observation; we can therefore go beyond it and resolve what to do against it, even if our decisions are desperate. (Sartre: What is literature: 289)
  • 91. Cohn’s aim of therapy. ‘ the restoration of an unlived dimension of life, whether this is described as forgotten, denied, repressed or abandoned’ (Cohn 2004:384)
  • 92. Aiming for truth
    • Rothko
  • 93. What is anxiety? The energy of life And energy can be used or can overwhelm you
  • 94. To live is to be anxious
    • Until we die
    • Because we die
    • Because we were born
    • Because there is nothing else we can do
    • It is life rather than death anxiety that paralyses
    • We have to learn to stand up and be counted; to ek-sist in past, present and future
  • 95. Our horizon is the limit of our vision
    • Nietzsche says: the only obstacle to my freedom is my horizon, but this ‘horizon is transparent, it points beyond to what is not made fast, to what becomes and can become, to the possible.’ (Nietzsche).
  • 96. Reclaiming TIME-SPACE
    • Opening up the Spielraum, elbowroom or play-space in which we find the truth of being and find ourselves in freedom and in connection to all that is.
  • 97. But what do we know? And what can we hope for?
    • Learning to live is about learning from experience and from daring to formulate in words, attitude and action what our intuition and existence teaches us.
    • It is about being in tune with life: not as a once off, but again and again
  • 98. Seasons and cycles of life
    • We are born:
    • live and die
  • 99. Between birth and death
    • We are helpless at birth
  • 100. Wellcome exhibition: life before death, Walter Schells Memento Mori
  • 101. To live and to die
  • 102. Eyes that see the world no more: finding peace
  • 103. Living matters. Dying always comes sooner than we think. Life is short.
    • We don’t know how to live right.
    • Living is not easy.
    • Living well is extremely difficult: we have to learn how to ripen rather than wither on the vine.
    • We pass on what we have learnt but often fail to mention how to live a good life; what works and what doesn’t.
  • 104. Our life is in flux
    • Things constantly
    • change and so do we
    • Circle of life goes on
    • We cannot stop it
  • 105. Stages of a Woman’s life
  • 106. Our lives are like the seasons or the birth of day and night.
  • 107. Watching life go by
    • observers
    • participants
    • creatures
    • or creators
    • active
    • reactive
    • pro-active
    • passive
  • 108. Life is a journey: in both space and time
    • We are on the way towards somewhere, sometimes without knowing it: we hide or ignore our own intentions and direction. We live automatically or by default: feeling battered by the waves of life.
  • 109. Captain of your ship
    • So, how do we learn to captain our own ship to find our way through our life with deliberation?
  • 110. Tight fit:
    • Sometimes life is plain sailing, but at other times, prevailing winds are from the north, or we are having to navigate between a rock and a hard place..
  • 111. Taking shortcuts
    • The objective of life is not to get to some destination, some utopia where all will be well ever after: happiness is not the objective, but only an occasional port
    • Taking shortcuts is usually counterproductive.
    • They stop us learning about life.
  • 112. Nietzsche’s warning
    • The supposed 'shorter ways' have always put mankind into great danger; at the glad tidings that such a shorter way has been found, they always desert their way
    • – and lose their way
  • 113. Kierkegaard’s reflective living as the knight of faith can only happen if we live for real: we can only truly learn if we live it
    • Life has to be remembered backwards but it has to be lived forwards
  • 114. Kierkegaard’s idea of time
    • Mankind is the place where the concept of the moment arises
    • It is only when spirit is generated out of the interaction of body and mind that the synthesis of time and eternity produces the succession of moments that is typical and exclusive of human existence.
    • When spirit is introduced, the eternal ceases to be mere present and becomes the possibility of continuous past, present and future.
  • 115. Stages of life: Kierkegaard’s idea of progress
    • Vegetative; sentient ; conscious ; knowing ; self-knowing; aware of self awareness: autonomous. (determined: past based)
    • Aesthetic: feeling (being absorbed by the present)
    • Ethical – Ascetic: thinking (having control over the present: planning the future)
    • Leap of Faith: jump into abyss of eternity
    • Spiritual life: retrieve inspiration: holding the paradox finite/infinite : continuous past, present, future : mastering time.
  • 116. Time streams like sand through an hourglass
    • The more sand
    • remains the slower it
    • appears to go.
    • The last bit of sand
    • rushes through.
  • 117. Passionate engagement is like fire: it eats time.
    • Time is fast when I am at one with the world and give myself over to being.
  • 118. Painting with passion:
    • lose 3 hours when
    • being at one with time
    • expansion
    • of the soul
    • world looks and
    • feels brighter
    • transparency and absorption
  • 119. Time is slow when I am bored and disengaged
    • A film of mist descends over the world and I cannot connect:
    • time stays heavy on my hands
    • I want time to pass: I am not engaged with life, nor with myself
  • 120. Attunement to what is
  • 121. Despair is being out of time
    • Despair is awareness of boredom or impossibility: like being in a fog
    • Not to want to be oneself, yet desperately wanting to be oneself
    • It is inactivity in which time stands still
    • ‘ for despair is precisely to have lost the eternal and oneself’
    • (Kierkegaard, Sickness unto Death:195)
  • 122. How to recover the tension of the paradox
    • The tension of the paradox is what creates life: the in-between finite and infinite, possibility and necessity, life and death, you and I, now and then, here and there.
    • Tension is the electric current between positive and negative pole that produces energy: it is the dynamic differential that creates life.
  • 123. 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)
  • 124. Letting life in: breathing
    • Air : spirit : soul : life.
  • 125. Heidegger’s project (Entwurf)
    • Anxiety is related to homelessness (Unheimlichkeit):
    • the fact that we
    • are project,
    • in the throw,
    • means we are
    • never at ease,
    • always unsettled
    • On the move,
    • Not at home.
  • 126. Anxiety turns to panic when action whirls in on itself and is blocked
    • A feeling of dizziness and
    • becoming absorbed in fuzziness
    • But it is also a staircase to somewhere
    • inside.
    • You can retrieve the sense of safety
    • inside your own emotion
    • Before reaching for the unfurling…
  • 127. When anxiety reaches towards its potential
    • We can see the power of the wave
    • Learn to catch it and ride it
    • We are like a planet, in orbit, finding
    • our path.
  • 128. Connecting to the wave and tides
    • Until I saw the sea I did not know that wind could wrinkle water so
    • I never knew that sun could splinter a whole sea of blue
    • nor did I know before, a sea breathes in and out upon a shore
    • by Lilian Moore
  • 129. New prophets Eckart Tolle: Power of Now/New Earth
    • Being in the now
    • Letting go of the ego
    • Being alert
    • Present not an enemy
    • How do I relate to the moment?
    • What is my relationship to life?
    • Find the space of now
    • From not knowing find the knowing
    • Gratitude arises
    • Blocks: because of memories and conceptions from the past
    • Get rid of habitual repetitive negative thoughts
  • 130. Why is this not enough?
    • Because we have evolved to have a past, present and future, not just a now.
    • Because the moment of now is ephemeral.
    • Because we have a brain that allows us to think and because thinking is as precious as feeling and sensing and intuiting
    • Because to bring everything back to the goal of peace of mind and a happy state is to deny the challenge of life which inspires us
    • Perhaps a good starting point for those who are lost in themselves and in life, but there is a lot more to it: life is complex and demanding
    • We have to learn to master life and with it our anxiety
  • 131. The challenge is:
    • To really understand
    • Ourselves, not just our egos, but all layers and dimensions of being
    • Also our pasts and present and future
    • And Levinas’ other, who sometimes needs priority or Buber’s Thou who takes us beyond I
    • The things in this world, to work with them rather than against them
    • The ideas that people at different times and places have come up with, finding the universals and essences that make them important
  • 132. Minkowski’s idea of time Present Remote Past Mediate Past Immediate Past Immediate Future Mediate Future Remote Future
  • 133. Time Zones
    • Present: zone of activity, which includes all the other zones of time
    • Remote past: zone of the obsolete and of history, including one’s own life myths
    • Mediate past: zone of loss and regret
    • Immediate past: zone of remorse or grief
    • Immediate future: zone of expectation
    • Mediate future: zone of wish and hope or dread and anxiety.
    • Remote future: zone of prayer and ethical action and also of ultimate meaning of life.
  • 134. Our life is like a river
    • We wind our own way down the road of life
    • But the river also flows through us and we dam it up and stop the flow- forgetting our destiny and the source of our inheritance of life
    • Set patterns are like sediment in the river that make us stagnate
    • Get back into the flow of life
  • 135. Recapturing radical FREEDOM
    • ‘ Freedom is not a property (Eigenschaft : characteristic) of man; man is the property (Eigentum:possession) of freedom.’
    • (Heidegger 1971: Schelling’s Treatise on the Essence of Human Freedom, transl. Stambaugh J. (Athens Ohio: ohio University Press 1985: 11/9).
  • 136. Sartre’s existential ethics There is no abstract ethics. There is only an ethics in a situation and therefore it is concrete. An abstract ethics is that of the good conscience. It assumes that one can be ethical in a fundamentally unethical situation . (Sartre, Notes For an Ethics:17)
  • 137. Things to remember
    • We learn in context and with others
    • To build a true learning community we need to come close to people in mutual respect
    • And by addressing the life issues that really matter to us and our clients rather than red herrings of pathology
    • People’s suffering and fears are the sacred fires that make us human and bring us to life
    • It is up to us to show how these can burn safely and not destroy
    • In order to transform and transcend them we have to make human understanding central to all we do.
  • 138. Conflicts and dilemmas are essential
    • Conflicts are the core of existence.
    • Things and people oppose each other.
    • Conflict can either destroy you or deepen you.
    • Relationships are about tension: fission or fusion.
    • Most conflicts are not just with others but with the world, with beliefs and with ourselves.
    • Conflict does not have to lead to combat.
  • 139. Victimization Physical Responsibility
    • Earthquake
    • Flood
    • Drought
    • Tornado
    • Hurricane
    • Pandemics
    • Tsunami
    • Volcanic eruption
    • Plagues
    • Starvation
    • War
    • Torture
    • Transport disasters
    • Stampedes
    • Persecution
    • Terrorism
    • Hijacking
    • Murder
    • Assault
    • Rape
    • Suicide
    • Smoking
    • Drugs
    • Alcohol
    • Food abuse
    • Stress
    • Recklessness
    • Sports Injury
    • STDs
    • Abuse
    • Extortion
    • Blackmail
    • Harassment
    • Bullying
    • Unfair dismissal
    • Industrial injury
    • Occupational illness
    • Traffic accidents
    Homeostasis Social
  • 140. Difficulties on four dimensions physical social personal spiritual Deficit Difference Dilemma Disorientation Disease Discord Deception (self) Delusion Desire Dominance Disappointment Doubt Dependence Dishonesty Dread Debt Dis-embodiment Dis-engagement Despondency Dissolution Death Destruction Distress Despair
  • 141. 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.
    • If you can claim the crisis as part of your success rather than evidence of failure and bad character: making it meaningful.
  • 142. Life as hero’s journey
    • The challenge: travelling far, braving danger in order to save the world.
    • Have an adventure, then return to safety: home coming, using our compass.
  • 143. Find your own way
    • Be clear of your goal
    • Make the most of the journey
    • Live your life for real
    • Value your own resources, strengths and achievements and cherish them
    • Welcome yourself
    • Harvest your past: your past with all its pain and all its power: reflect on it, learn from it, transform it
    • Trust life and give it all you have got
  • 144. Ready for whatever may come
    • Open to the force of time and the source of life
    • Trusting day and night, light and dark, sunshine and rain
    • Welcome yourself into the space of your existence
    • Tune in to the truth of being
    • For whatever life may throw at you
    • Live in the passionate depth of life, in reverence of what is, with both joy and sorrow
  • 145. Coaching for life Discovering new possibilities by being introduced to them by others
  • 146. Nothing is learnt
    • Unless you get your hands dirty
  • 147. Deliberate living
  • 148. Paradox and tensions of existence. Existential approach: related to, but not the same as positive psychology and well-being research: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ed Diener, Ruut Veenhoven, Martin Seligman . The tragic depth of being human is as important as human potential and joy.
  • 149. Existential therapy: Reflecting on living in search of truth
    • Therapists clarify ethical problems and problems in living. They ask questions:
    • What is the person’s worldview?
    • What is their situation?
    • What are their values?
    • What is their purpose in life?
    • What has been their fate?
    • What is their destiny?
    • What are their struggles?
    • What are their talents?
    • What are their yearnings?
    • What are their connections to the world and others?
    • What is their attitude?
    • What are their actions?
  • 150. Different aspects of therapeutic relationship
  • 151. Wheels within wheels Being me
  • 152. Landscapes of our life
    • Understand the Lebenswelt:
    • the world in which we live
    • 1.How do we experience the world?
    • 2.What does our life landscape look like?
    • 3.Where are we going?
  • 153. Objective of therapy.
    • Helping a person rediscover their vision.
    • It is about seeing and overseeing the situation of their life.
    • Widening their horizon.
    • Helicopter view of life.
    • A chance to get some perspective and make new connections.
    • Understand a bit more about human existence.
    • Encouragement to live.
    • Liberation.
  • 154. Process of existential work
    • Directive versus non-directive: be direct and directional instead.
    • Situation and relation to world on four dimensions:be aware of paradox and polarities.
    • How is the person
    • situated:
    • use emotional
    • compass.
    • Connect to
    • worldview
    • and purpose.
  • 155. Work on:
    • Shift your client’s perception of their world by looking at it from different angles.
    • Help them to be more forthright in establishing relationships and encountering others in a direct and real way.
    • Help them understand their own experience, situation, dilemma and purpose.
    • Help them face up to underlying human issues, contradictions, possibilities, limits.
  • 156.
    • Become aware of your own bias: outlook, assumptions, beliefs, prejudice, blind spots.
    • Locate and articulate the client’s worldview and life space.
    • No judgements. Understanding rather than interpretation. Recognizing difference.
    Work with bias.
  • 157. Values and context
    • Recognize your clients’ values and differentiate them from your own.
    • Learn to read and understand the text of the client’s life, find the narrative point of gravity, the subtext and the context.
    • Take into account the social, cultural and political dimension of the client’s life. Put this in context with your own worldview and beliefs.
  • 158. Existential Space Physical space Social space Personal space Spiritual space
  • 159. Your own little sphere of existence matters
  • 160. Imagine a person like a sphere
  • 161. That person is located in a universe with other planets, stars, suns, moons and spheres
  • 162. Sphere as a planet or a cell: micro or macro level.
  • 163. If a cell: connection with other cells, function and internal constitution are paramount
  • 164. If planet: orbit and position matter
  • 165. 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)
  • 166. You experience yourself as having a nucleus: a core, a heart or a soul
  • 167. Perhaps we are more like suns, generating heat and light
  • 168. Solar anatomy
  • 169. Layers of the sun
    • Corona, chromosphere, photosphere, convection zone, and core.
  • 170. Layers of a person’s life. 4.Physical: Umwelt 3.Social: Mitwelt 2.Personal: Eigenwelt 1.Spiritual: Uberwelt
  • 171. 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)
  • 172. Layers of a person’s life. 4.Physical: Umwelt 3.Social: Mitwelt 2.Personal: Eigenwelt 1.Spiritual: Uberwelt
  • 173. Dimensions of existence 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.
  • 174. Different perspectives
    • Depending on where we stand light refracts differently through the prism of life.
  • 175. Our emotions colour our worldview
    • They create different atmospheres at different times.
  • 176. 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 where we are.
    • Learn to tune in rather than tune out.
    • Use the emotional compass.
  • 177. Formulate the questions by finding the atmosphere and the mood.
    • When we master a mood, we do so by way of a counter-mood; we are never free of moods. (Heidegger 1927:136)
  • 178. pride jealousy anger- despair fear sorrow shame envy hope- desire love joy Sadness Low Happiness High Anxiety Excitement Engagement Depression Disappointment Disengagement
  • 179. Emotional Compass 1:Pride-confidence-arrogance 2:Jealousy-worry-vigilance 3:Anger-hate-despair 4:Fear-confusion-cowardice 5:Sorrow-misery-resignation Shame-emptiness-guilt:7 Envy-curiosity-aspiration:8 Hope-desire-resolve:9 Love-courage-commitment:10 Joy-thrill-excitement:11 6. Low Despondency Depression Exhilaration Happiness 12:High Up gain Down loss
  • 180. The colour of emotion
  • 181.  
  • 182.  
  • 183. Depressed worldview
  • 184. Compass of Physical Sensation Greed Stinginess Frustration Disgust Pain Need Craving Excitement Lust Pleasure Deprivation Emptiness Satisfaction Fullness Gain Survival Loss Threat
  • 185. Compass of Social Feeling Care Jealousy Anger Fear Rejection Shame Envy Approval Love Acceptance Isolation Separateness Belonging Oneness Engagement Disengagement
  • 186. Compass of Personal Thinking Superiority Stubbornness Defiance Deflation Humiliation Inferiority Anxiety Courage Commitment Confidence Imperfection Weakness Perfection Strength Success Failure
  • 187. Compass of Spiritual Intuition Pride Prudence Wrath Resignation Disillusionment Guilt Aspiration Hope Resoluteness Bliss Futility Absurdity Meaning Purpose Good Evil
  • 188. 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.
  • 189. Anton Chekhov
    • Any idiot can face a crisis –
    • it’s day to day living
    • that wears you out
  • 190. Marcus Aurelius
    • It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live
    • The paradox is that death, troubles, labour, failures, pain and sorrow are unavoidable and necessary
    • They are the things that wake you up to awareness and that open you to life
    • Yet some troubles are more like catastrophes
  • 191. When crisis strikes our lives are revolutionized In the whirlwind of change we need to find steadiness, persistence and resilience
  • 192. 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.
  • 193. 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.
  • 194. 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.
  • 195. 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.
  • 196. Resilience
    • How do people overcome obstacles and deal with anxiety?
    • How do they survive difficu lties, crises, trauma?
    • Are there personal qualities that enable a person to be resilient?
    • Are there certain ways of being that are more conducive to survival and learning from traumatic experience?
    • Role of creative use of trauma.
    • Happiness is a genetic given for 50% of our happiness quotient.
    • How do we live well?
  • 197. 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
  • 198. Existential Approach The existential approach to counselling and psychotherapy is a philosophical method for understanding human difficulties: not in order to eliminate problems but in order to face them to thrive on them.
  • 199. Getting help from the philosophers.
    • For some it is all darkness; for me too,
    • it is dark. But there are hands
    • there I can take, voices to hear
    • solider than the echoes
    • without. And sometimes a strange light
    • shines, purer than the moon,
    • casting no shadow, that is
    • the halo upon the bones
    • of the pioneers who died for truth.
    • R.S. Thomas, Groping:99.
  • 200. EXISTENTIAL PHILOSOPHERS Philosophers of freedom Pheno- menology Existentialism Post-modernism S Ö ren Kierkegaard 1813-1855 Franz Brentano 1838-1917 Jean Paul Sartre 1905-1980 Michel Foucault 1926-1984 Friedrich Nietzsche 1844-1900 Edmund Husserl 1859-1938 Maurice Merleau Ponty 1908-1961 Paul Ricoeur 1913-2005 Karl Jaspers 1883-1969 Martin Heidegger 1889-1976 Albert Camus 1913-1960 Jacques Derrida 1931-2004
  • 201. Existential Philosophers
    • Kierkegaard Nietzsche Husserl Jaspers Heidegger Sartre de Beauvoir Buber Camus Merleau Ponty Foucault
  • 202. Existential Practitioners
    • Binswanger Boss Frankl
    • Tillich May Laing
  • 203. Living happily or living well: an existential view
    • Crystallization of discontent may be the beginning of insight into what is wrong.
    • Conflict, dilemmas and problems are an intrinsic part of being alive
    • Being cured of difficulties is the death of possibility and creativity
  • 204. Tillich’s Courage to Be
    • Courage is the universal self-affirmation of one’s Being in the presence of the threat of non-Being (Tillich 1952:163).
  • 205. Integrating non being: Paul Tillich: 1886-1965
    • A neurotic person can take on board only a little bit of non-being
    • The average person can take on a limited amount of non-being
    • The creative person can accommodate a large amount of non-being
    • God can tolerate an infinite amount of non-being.
  • 206. The negatives that are positives
    • Anxiety far from being something to shun and treat as a symptom to eliminate is the source of energy that makes us come to life
    • Our capacity for despair is what makes us deep and capable of feeling, empathy and creativity
    • Without suffering our lives would have less meaning
    • To be human is to be conscious and be aware of lack, trouble, difficulty and strife.
  • 207. Being-in-the-world
  • 208. 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.
  • 209. Baumeister (1991) Meanings of Life
    • Baumeister’s four basic needs for meaning:
    • Need for purpose (spiritual)
    • Need for value (social)
    • Need for efficacy (physical)
    • 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.
  • 210. 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).’ (Baumeister, 1991: 41)
  • 211. Different dimensions of the four spheres of existence Umwelt Mitwelt Eigenwelt Uberwelt Physical survival Nature Things Body Cosmos Social affiliation Public Others Ego Culture Personal identity Private Me Self Consciousness Spiritual meaning Sacred God Soul Transcendence
  • 212. Project, praxis, dialectics
    • ‘ Man is characterised 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).
    • We define project by praxis. Action, passion and reflection. Constant transcendence and dialectical progression .
  • 213. Find your own way Be clear of your goal and make the most of the journey Learn to live deliberately rather than by default
  • 214. Emotional well being
    • An ability to creatively encounter challenges, losses and crises
    • Capacity for re-establishing equilibrium through strong, dynamic centre of narrative gravity
    • Enjoyment of life, appreciation of physical world, others, self-worth and meaning.
  • 215. Magritte: Empire of Lights. Learning to live with paradox and the tensions of life
  • 216. Tillich, 1966:15
  • 217. 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)
  • 218. Inspiration and expiration
  • 219. pride jealousy anger- despair fear sorrow shame envy hope- desire love joy Sadness Low Happiness High Anxiety Excitement Engagement Depression Disappointment Disengagement
  • 220.   Accept unspoken givens of life: engage with them: Human evolution from: passionate engagement with problems and conflicts: understanding and overcoming
  • 221. Rely on your capacity to face whatever may come: find a calm confident state of mind
  • 222. 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)
  • 223. Loving your Life
    • To live well is to live in harmony with your own life and to love it in all its manifestations (Nietzsche’s Amor Fati)
    • Challenges and difficulties to be welcomed : life as an adventure
    • Increase capacity for feeling or decrease it
    • More feeling means more suffering and more reality. Less suffering means to care less and be less sensitive, but also less tuned in to life and less creative
    • The choice is yours. Your life belongs to you.
  • 224. www.existentialpsychotherapy.net www.dilemmas.org www.nspc.org.uk www.existentialacademy.com