ROLLO REESE MAY: EXISTENTIAL-PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY
EXISTENTIALISM• Concerned with the struggle to work through life‟s experiences and to grow toward becoming more fully human
Common elements found in Existential Thinkers:1. Existence takes precedence over essence2. Existentialism opposes the split between subject and object3. People search for some meaning into their lives4. Existentialists hold that ultimately each of us is responsible for who we are and what we become5. Existentialists are basically antitheoretical
BEING-IN-THE-WORLD• Expressed in the German word “Dasein”• “Dasein”-to exist in the world• Hyphens in the term imply a oneness of subject and object• Many people suffer from anxiety and despair brought on by their alienation from themselves or from their world• Feelings of isolation and alienation of self from the world is suffered not only by pathologically disturbed individuals but also by most individuals in modern societies.
Manifestations of Alienation:1. Separation from nature2. Lack of meaningful interpersonal relations3. Alienation from one‟s authentic self
Simultaneous modes of being in people’s world1. Umwelt2. Mitwelt3. Eigenwelt
Simultaneous modes of being in people‟s worldUmwelt environment around usMitwelt relations with other peopleEigenwelt relationship with our self• Healthy people live in Umwelt, Mitwelt, and Eigenwelt simultaneously
Healthy people live in Umwelt, Mitwelt,and Eigenwelt simultaneously Eigenwelt Umwelt Mitwelt
NON-BEING• Also nothingness• Dread of not being• Death is not the only avenue of nonbeing• Provokes us to live defensively and receive less from life than if we would confront the issue of our nonexistence
Dread of nonbeing can take the form of:• Isolation• Alienation
CONSCIOUSNESS OF SELF• unique mark of the human person• enables us to distinguish between ourselves and the worldSELFHOOD is not automatic but is born ina social context and grows in interpersonalrelations.
ONTOLOGICAL ASSUMPTIONS1. All living organisms are potentially centered in themselves and seek to preserve that center2. Human beings have the need and the possibility of going out from their centeredness to participate with other people
3. Sickness is a method whereby an individual seeks to preserve his or her being4. Human beings can participate in a level of self-consciousness that permits them to transcend the immediate situation and to consider and actualize a wider range of possibilities
UNCONSCIOUS EXPERIENCE• Self-deception and experiences that an individual cannot actualize
ANXIETY• the subjective state of the individual‟s becoming aware that his or her existence can be destroyed, that he can become „nothing‟• it exists when one confronts the issue of fulfilling one‟s potentials
FORMS OF ANXIETYNORMAL ANXIETY• “which is proportionate to the threat, does not involve repression, and can be confronted constructively on the conscious level
FORMS OF ANXIETYNEUROTIC ANXIETY• “a reaction which is disproportionate to the threat, involves repression and other forms of intrapsychic conflict, and is managed by various kinds of blocking-off of activity and awareness
GUILT• When people deny their potentialities, fail to accurately perceive the needs of fellow humans or remain oblivious to their dependence on the nature1. UMWELT2. MITWELT3. EIGENWELT
INTENTIONALITY• the structure of meaning which makes it possible for us to see and understand the outside world• sometimes unconscious
CARE, LOVE & WILL• Care - to recognize a person as a fellow human being, to identify with that person‟s joy, guilt or pity - is an active process; it is a state where something does matter - is the source of love and will
• Love - to have an active regard for a person‟s development - a delight in the presence of the other person - affirming of a person‟s value and development as much as one‟s own
• Will - capacity to organize one‟s self so that movement in a toward a certain goal may take place
• UNION of LOVE and WILL - Modern society suffers from an unhealthy division of love and will. Love is seen as sensual sex, whereas will is seen as dogged determination or will power.
- Biological reasons why love and will are separated: - When children come into the world, are at onewith the universe, their mother, and themselves. - As will begins to develop, it manifests itself asopposition. The “no ”, unfortunately, is seen by theparents negatively. - Child learns to dissociate will from the blissful love.
- Our task is to unite love and will.- For the mature person, both love and will mean a reaching out toward another person.Both involve care, both necessitate a choiceboth imply action and both requireresponsibility.
FORMS OF LOVE• Sex - a biological function that can be satisfied through sexual intercourse or some other release of sexual tension - the source at once of the human being‟s most intense pleasure and his most pervasive anxiety
• Eros - a psychological desire that seeks procreation or creation through an enduring union with a loved one; making love; wish to establish a lasting union - built on care and tenderness - salvation of sex
• Philia - intimate nonsexual friendship between two people - cannot be rushed; it takes time to groow and develop - necessary requisite for healthy erotic relationships during early and late adolescence
• Agape - concern for the other‟s welfare beyond any gain that one can get out of it - altruistic love
FREEDOM• Comes from an understanding of our destiny• Possibility of changing, although we may not know what those changes might be • Increases anxiety
FORMS OF FREEDOM• Existential Freedom – freedom of doing – freedom to pursue tangible goals• Essential Freedom – freedom of being – freedom to think, to plan, to hope
DESTINY• Biological, psychological, and cultural factors• Terminus, goal – DeathAs we challenge our destiny, we gain freedom, and aswe achieve freedom, we push at the boundaries ofdestiny
MYTHS• Conscious and unconscious belief systems that provide explanations for personal and social problems• Oedipus story • Birth • Exile and separation • Identity • Incest and patricide • Repression of guilt • Conscious meditation and death
May divided personalitydevelopment into 4 stages. Centers on the physical and psychological ties between us and our parents and parental substitutes “the conflict is between every human being‟s need to struggle toward enlarged self- awareness, maturity, freedom and responsibility. And his tendency to remain a child and cling to the protection of parents or parental substitutes” Dependency struggle
STAGE OF INNOCENCE• Stage before consciousness of self is born• Characteristic of the infant
STAGE OF REBELLION Takes place at age 2 or 3 and again during adolescence Individual seeks to establish some inner strength may involve defiance and hostility
STAGE OF REBELLION Rebellion is defiance, an active rejection of parental and societal rules. Behavior is automatic rigid and reflexive. True freedom- involves openness, a readiness to grow: it means being flexible, ready to change for the sake of greater human values.
ORDINARY CONSCIOUSNESSOF SELF Healthy personality able to learn from one‟s mistakes and live responsibly capable of understanding some of his errors and of recognizing some of his prejudices
CREATIVE CONSCIOUSNESSOF SELF Signifies maturity Abilityto see something outside one‟s usual limited viewpoint and gain a glimpse of ultimate truth as it exists in reality Cuts through the dichotomy between subjectivity and objectivity Achieved only rarely
“Consciousness of self gives us the power to stand outside the rigid chain of stimulus and response, to pause, and by this pause to throw some weight on either side, to cast some decision about what the response will be”
EXISTENTIAL PSYCHOTHERAPY• should make people more human• set people free• must be concerned with helping people experience their existence
EXISTENTIAL PSYCHOTHERAPY- an encounter between the patient and therapist coming together and sharing their experience- I-thou encounter- EMPATHY for the client – key ingredient- partly religion, partly science and partly friendship- PHILOSOPHICAL