The Discovery of Being (1983)


Existentialism = “the endeavor to understand man by cutting below the cleavage between subject and object which has bedeviled Western thought and science since shortly after the Renaissance” (49).

“Truth exists only as the individual himself produces it in action” (Kierkegaard, qtd. 49).

Anxiety as ontological.

Being vs. nonbeing.

das Mann = conformist masses neglecting their being.

Umwelt = roughly natural environment, also person’s past as influence.

Mitwelt = person-to-person relationships

Eigenwelt = innerworld; a “for-me-ness”

Technique follows understanding.

Six implications for therapy (153ff.):

  1. The variability of techniques among existential therapists
  2. Psychological dynamisms always take their meaning from the existential situation of the patient’s own, immediate life; are ontological
  3. Presence; here cf. Rogers’s notion of care
  4. Therapy will attempt to “analyze out” the ways of behaving which destroy presence
  5. The aim of therapy is that the patient experience his existence as real; asks, “Where are you?”
  6. Commitment; decision precedes knowledge; points out fragility of existence and how person may be denying existence in the moment with actions

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