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Title: A philosophical critique of existential psychotherapy
Author: Chung, Man Cheung
ISNI:       0000 0001 3551 0666
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2008
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While existential psychotherapy is in its ascendancy, there is a lack of philosophical critiques of existential psychotherapeutic thinking. This thesis is an attempt to examine whether there is conceptual confusion embedded within this thinking and, if so, to tease out what it is. My examination has shown that contemporary existential psychotherapists are confused about what existential psychotherapy is, while on the surfac.e, they seem to be clear about what it is. While existential psychotherapy has increasingly been , integrated with other forms of therapy such as cognitive-behavioural arid multimodal, such integration could necessitate important changes to the existential psychotherapeutic fundamental basic assumptions. Meanwhile, some existential psychotherapists have tried to challenge or re-define psychoanalytic concepts. However, my examination suggests that there are in fact common features in the concepts (interpretation, transference, resistance. and repression) that existential and psychoanalytic psychotherapists share. This, in turn, questions the extent to which existential psychotherapists have truly challenged or distanced themselves from psychoanalytic concepts, as they claim to have done. Existential psychotherapists have developed their own understanding of the ! unconscious; however, my examination shows that their understanding of it is in fact incoherent. The way in which they define the unconscious implies a strong sense of selfconsciousness, Le. the unconscious is found within a wider capacity of human consciousness. But, I have argued that existential psychotherapists have not resolved difficulties which are derived from viewing the notion of self-deception as a conscious phenomenon. Also, their effort to assist their clients to enhance or widen self-consciousness could lead clients to develop fantasy. The foregoing critiques, I believe, represent only some of the conceptual confusions embedded within existential psychotherapeutic thinking
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available