1st Edition

An Existential Approach to Interpersonal Trauma
Modes of Existing and Confrontations with Reality

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 25, 2022
ISBN 9781032020600
March 25, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
264 Pages

USD $39.95

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Book Description

An Existential Approach to Interpersonal Trauma provides a new existential framework for understanding the experiences of interpersonal trauma building on reflections from Marc Boaz’s own personal history, clinical insight, and research.

The book suggests that psychology, psychotherapy and existentialism do not recognise the significance of the existential movements that occur in traumatic confrontations with reality. By considering what people find at the limits and boundaries of human experiencing, Boaz describes the ways in which they can disillusion and re-illusion themselves, and how this becomes incorporated into their modes of existing in the world and in relation to others. In incorporating the experience of trauma into the way people live – all the existential horror, terror and liberation contained within it – Boaz invites them to embrace an expansive ethic of (re)(dis)covery. This ethic recognises the ambiguity and spectrality of interpersonal trauma, and expands the horizons of our human relationships.

The book provides an important basis for professionals wanting to work existentially with interpersonal trauma and for people wanting to deepen their understanding of the trauma they have experienced.

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I Early and contemporary psychotraumatology; 1. Early psychiatric and psychoanalytic psychotraumatology; 2. Paradoxes and tensions; 3. Interpersonal traumas as psychological and social pathologies; 4. Contemporary trauma-focused psychotherapies; Part II An existential understanding of interpersonal trauma; 5. Existential understandings of human suffering and trauma; 6. Existential understandings of traumatic embodiment and identity; 7. Existential ambiguities, liminality and reality-denial in traumatic confrontations; Part III Implications for practice; 8. Implications for practice; References

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Marc Boaz is an existential psychotherapist and visiting professor in public mental health at the University of Northampton. He is a founding member of, and policy advisor to, the UK Trauma Council, hosted by the Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families. Marc also serves on the Disability Advisory Committee of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. His research and practice focuses on the relationships between philosophy, social policy, practice and lived experience in disability, mental health, long-term conditions and youth.


'Trauma theory tends to concentrate on either the event, or the physiological and mental effects on the person. It sees trauma as something that is unusual that happens to other people. These approaches neglect the apparently simple question, ‘What is it that is traumatised?’. In this groundbreaking book Marc Boaz radically reframes this question philosophically. He makes a compelling case for the need to understand interpersonal trauma existentially, and in terms of the paradoxes and dilemmas of our embodied and relational world. The appropriateness of this approach will be brought home to everyone interested in the area by the way he relates his philosophical insights to therapeutic practice.'

Martin Adams, Existential therapist and author of An Existential Approach to Human Development