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Existential Thought and Therapeutic Practice

Existential Thought and Therapeutic Practice
An Introduction to Existential Psychotherapy

August 1997 | 144 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Although many practitioners have discovered existential-phenomenological thought, they may wonder what relevance these philosophical ideas have to their actual practice, to their day-to-day meetings with clients, and to the relationship between client and therapist. There is often a divide between thought and practice, and this book bridges that gap. In Existential Thought and Therapeutic Practice, author Hans W. Cohn introduces the history and ideas of existential phenomenology and existential psychotherapy and shows how therapeutic phenomena familiar to all therapists and counselors can be understood from an existential viewpoint. He also demonstrates how the existential approach opens up access to issues that other therapeutic orientations have neglected, such as the difficulty of choice, the burden of responsibility, and the inevitability of death. Existential Thought and Therapeutic Practice is clearly written and jargon-free. The existential approach is constantly compared to the relevant psychodynamic counterpart so that the reader can assess the unfamiliar against a background of the more familiar. The book will be of interest to training and practicing therapists and counselors and anyone concerned with new approaches in philosophy and psychotherapy.

What Is Existential Psychotherapy?
Philosophical Background
Existential Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis
A Comparison

The Therapeutic Relationship
Existential-Phenomenological Dimensions of Groups
Mind and Body
Aspects of Anxiety and Guilt
The Question of the Unconscious
Dreams and Symptoms
Being-in-the-World Sexually
Withdrawal and Delusion
Aims of Psychotherapy

`Cohn has succeeded in presenting [the existential-phenomenological] tradition with clarity and succinctness and without oversimplification - no mean feat' - The European Journal of Psychotherapy, Counselling & Health

`Hans W Cohn pits existential-phenomenological thought against psychoanalytic theory, then provides a stimulating and insightful commentary on the strengths of the one and the weaknesses of the other... it is to his enormous credit that Cohn uses his considerable knowledge of both opponents to ensure an even-handed and respectful exposition... [with] a lightness of touch and a clarity of style... Cohn demonstrates his mastery of the subject matter by distilling often arduous concepts into reader-friendly statements without loss of precision or flavour. The effect encourages and stimulates the reader to remain with the material knowing that s/he is capable of sustaining an equal relationship with it... if you want at least one "existential psychotherapy" text in your library, buy this one. It's a winner' - The Psychotherapy Review

`Cohn's book is the first rigorous and even-handed comparison of the existential and the psychoanalytic stances. He devotes each chapter to a topic and clearly defines the points of contact and difference with impressive precision, and as such it is a triumph of pluralist clarity and learning which does not oversimplify either position' - Counselling, The Journal of the British Association for Counselling

`A lucid and much-needed account of existential psychotherapy... As well as locating existential psychotherapy within a historical and philosophical context, Hans Cohn encompasses various therapeutic issues and provides some vivid and sensitive passages of case material... [which are] remarkable for their sensitivity and understanding... I found the book provided a concise and clarifying account of the underlying philosophy and of the psychotherapeutic practice... Hans W Cohn's comparison of an existential-phenomenological approach with psychoanalysis delineates areas of complementarity and areas of radical difference. The existentialist challenge to Freud outlined in the book provides an alternative point of view to counter potentially engulfing aspects of a psychoanalytic vision. This is a stimulating book which is a valuable contribution towards dialogue between different approaches of psychotherapy' - International Journal of Psychotherapy

`I very much like what Cohn has done... All in all Cohn has given us a good read. The book is comprehensive, honouring to the reader and thought-provoking' - Self & Society

`This small but informative volume... is absorbingly written and intellectually challenging in a way that allows for broad agreement as well as critical opposition' - Daseinsanalyse

`This book stimulated me intellectually and helped me clarify some of my thoughts. It also whetted my appetite for more.' - Group Analysis

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