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Stolorow, R.D. (2007). Anxiety, Authenticity, and Trauma: The Relevance of Heidegger's Existential Analytic for Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Psychol., 24(2):373-383.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 24(2):373-383

Brief Report

Anxiety, Authenticity, and Trauma: The Relevance of Heidegger's Existential Analytic for Psychoanalysis

Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D.

[U]nder the ascendancy of falling and publicness, “real” anxiety is rare.

—Martin Heidegger

There is no possibility for a normal to ever grasp the experience of a traumatized one.

—patient in analysis

The author draws on a description of his own experience of traumatic loss to support his thesis that psychological trauma produces an affective state whose features bear a close similarity to the central elements in Heidegger's existential interpretation of anxiety, and that trauma brings about this state by plunging the traumatized person into a form of authentic “Being-toward-death.” Such existential anxiety, the author also suggests, may open up the possibility of enhanced “resoluteness,” which, in concert with anticipation of death, forms the basis of authentic selfhood as Heidegger conceives it.

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