A Brief Overview of Existential Depth Psychotherapy

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Abstract

This article introduces the special issue of The Humanistic Psychologist, entitled “Depth, Death, and Dialogue: New Inquiries in Existential Depth Psychotherapy.” It begins by identifying several commitments that existential psychotherapists tend to hold in common and that distinguish their approach to depth psychotherapy from others. These commitments include, among others, the meaning, ownership, thereness, everydayness, phenomenology, and wholeness of human existence, as well as its possibility for authenticity. The article then distinguishes among different kinds of approaches to existential depth psychotherapy, using the criteria of the degree to which they harken to the intellectual Zeitgeists of America or Europe and, with this, the manner in which they address everyday (ontic) and/or philosophical (ontologic) concerns. A brief discussion of the author's understanding of the ontical and the ontological foundations for existential psychology ensues before the article closes with a crucial challenge facing existential depth psychotherapy and brief introduction to the articles in the special issue.

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