1st Edition

A History of Existential Psychology Introduction to Existential Psychology Volume 1

By Zoltán Kőváry Copyright 2025
    408 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    408 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The first in a two-part set, this book takes a deep dive into the history and theory of existential psychology.

    Beginning with a discussion of the ‘existentialism and psychology problem’, the book presents the philosophical and historical roots of existential psychology. It introduces the most important philosophical schools in the development of existentialism and their creators, such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre, as well as its literary roots in the writings of Dostoevsky and Kafka and the important contribution of psychoanalysis and phenomenological psychiatry. The book then goes on to look at the existential psychology schools, including daseinsanalysis, logotherapy and existential analysis, the existential-humanistic school and the existential-phenomenological school.

    Going beyond the questions of therapy and counselling that typically make up the study of existential psychology, the book offers the ultimate introduction for students and scholars of this fascinating and deeply rooted discipline. It may also interest professionals working in related fields.

    1. Psychology and Existentialism

    Part 1. Historical Foundations of Existential Psychology

    2. Philosophy: Ontology and Philosophical Anthropology

    3. The Contribution of 19-20th Century “Lebensphilosophie”, Theology and Far-East Philosophy

    4. Philosophy: Epistemology

    5. Literary Roots of Existential Psychology

    6. The Psychological-Psychiatric Antecedents and Parallels of Existential Psychology: Psychoanalysis

    7. Friends of the Family: The Contributions of Neo-Analytic Authors and Humanistic Psychoanalysts

    8. Bridges between Psychoanalysis and Existential-Humanistic Psychology

    9. Phenomenological Psychiatry and Anthropological Trends

    Part 2. The Schools of Existential Psychology

    10. Daseinsanalysis

    11. Logotherapy and Existential Analysis

    12. The Existential-Humanistic School of Psychology

    13. The Existential-Phenomenological School of Psychology

    14. Leopold Szondi’s Fate Analysis: The lost “Existential-Anancological” School of Psychology


    Zoltán Kőváry Ph.D is a clinical psychologist, litterateur, linguist, and expert in existential counselling. He is an associate professor at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary. His main research interests are in the history and theory of existential psychology and depth psychologies, eco-psychology, the psychology of creativity and psychobiographical research. He is an author of more than 70 articles, author and editor/co-editor of seven books, and an editor of the journal “Imago Budapest”. As well as running his own private practice in Budapest as an existential therapist, he is the leader of a rock band and interested in ornithology.

    “This unique book invites the reader to reflect upon basic questions in life through a concise, easily read and captivating presentation of the major existential approaches to everyday life. Zoltán Kövary provides us with a remarkably intelligent, comprehensive and novel synthesis of an increasingly significant field of psychology. This introductory text tackles the big questions in life: Who am I? Which genuine possibilities do we have? How can we develop authentic relationships with other people? A thrilling contribution and an ideal reading as for students, researchers as for practitioners.”

    Tamás Fazekas, MD, PhD, Daseinsanalyst, Co-author of “The Renaissance of Daseinsanalysis“, Co-founder of the Hungarian and American Daseinsanalytic Institutes.

    "Kovary's rich contribution gives a comprehensive account of the historical evolution of existential thought, culminating in its widening role in contemporary psychology and psychotherapy. The book is a goldmine for scholars and practitioners alike."

    Robert D. Stolorow, Founding Faculty, Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles, USA and author of “Trauma and Human Existence”.

    “The product of decades of research, Zoltan Kovary's work brilliantly explores every major thinker in existential psychology since the time of Kierkegaard to the present. Nothing like this book has ever been published before. A masterpiece of concision and depth“.

    Robert Kramer, Visiting Professor of Public Leadership, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary and co-editor of “The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto Rank: Inside Psychoanalysis”.

    “Real in-depth investigation brings up the roots of existential psychotherapy as well as its development and diversification in the practical application in an international context. A real source to learn from the beginnings to the ongoing application in both: in togetherness and differentiation of the movement. Illuminating.”

    Alfried Längle, International Society for Existential Analysis and Logotherapy, Univ. of Klagenfurt and Sigmund Freud Univ. Vienna, Austria.

    "This two volume set introducing existential psychology to a new generation of students, professors, and practitioners could not be more welcome. The field of existential psychology is sorely lacking in such an in-depth history as well survey of present applications and this two volume set more than fills the gap. What impresses me most about this work is that Kovary has cast his net both wide and deep and has a keen sense for the most timely existential themes that impact today's theory, practice, and research. If you want to have a robust grasp of existential psychology's basic concerns and their contexts today, I could not recommend a more suitable resource."

    Kirk J. Schneider, Ph.D., President of the Existential-Humanistic Institute and Adjunct faculty, Saybrook University; author of “Existential-Humanistic Therapy” (with Orah Krug), “The Polarized Mind”, and “Life-Enhancing Anxiety: Key to a Sane World”.

    "This book is an invitation to a wide ranging and in-depth journey through the international history of existential psychology and psychotherapy. It draws deeply on the intricate roots of existential understanding and points the way forwards towards greater human flourishing."

    Prof Emmy van Deurzen, founder of the Existential Academy and the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling and the author of numerous books and other texts, translated into over 30 languages.