Existential Dissonance: A Dimension of Inauthenticity

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Abstract

This article will initially review integral concepts found within Heidegger’s understanding of existence or being—namely the dialectic between authentic and inauthentic living, and by extension, existential guilt, anxiety, and regret. Next, I will discuss a particular dimension of inauthenticity found at the intersection of existential guilt and regret, termed existential dissonance. This term, adapted from Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance will serve to illuminate several clinical phenomena. To ground this concept further, I will provide 2 case examples that further express and clarify the ideas presented, herein.

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