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Binswanger, L. (1958-1959). Existential Analysis and Psychotherapy. Psychoanal. Rev., 45D(4):79-83.

(1958-1959). Psychoanalytic Review, 45D(4):79-83

Existential Analysis and Psychotherapy

Ludwig Binswanger, M.D., Ph.D.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The organizers of the Congress asked me to greet you with a talk on existential analysis (Daseinsanalyse) and psychotherapy. This request is evidently due to the fact that you are now in the birth-place of existential analysis as a psychiatric-phenomenological research method. I emphasize the words research method, for if the psychoanalysis of Freud or the teaching of Jung arose out of a dissatisfaction with preceding psychotherapy, thus owing their origin and development predominantly to psychotherapeutic impulses and aims, the existential research orientation in psychiatry arose from the dissatisfaction with the prevailing efforts to gain scientific understanding in psychiatry. So that existential analysis owes its origin and development to the striving to gain a new, a scientific understanding of the concerns of psychiatry, psychopathology and psychotherapy, on the basis of the analysis of existence (Daseinsanalytik) developed as it was in the remarkable work of Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (Sein und Zeit), in the year 1927.

Now psychology and psychotherapy as sciences are admittedly concerned with “man”, but not at all primarily with a mentally ill man, but with man as such. The new understanding of man, which we owe to Heidegger's analysis of existence, has its basis in this, that here man is no longer understood in terms of some theory-be it a mechanistic, a biological, or a psychological one-but in terms of a purely phenomenological elucidation of the total structure or total articulation of existence as being-in-the-world (In-der-Welt-sein). What this expression, fundamental for existential analysis, means, I unfortunately cannot develop here; be it only emphasized that it encompasses alike the individual's own world and the simultaneous and co-extensive relationships with and to other people and things.

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