1st Edition

Existential Social Work Meaning Making in the Face of Distress

By Zvi Eisikovits, Eli Buchbinder Copyright 2023
    144 Pages
    by Routledge

    144 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book is a theoretical and practical guide for mental health professionals who wish to utilize existential principles in their social work and clinical practice.

    Existential questions concerning life situations, such as anxiety, suffering, choosing, authenticity, are at the heart of the craft of any helping profession. The book aims to confront students and practitioners with the need to be simultaneously philosophical and experiential in their clinical approach. Written in an accessible tone, Eisikovits and Buchbinder bridge existential-philosophical concepts often seen as removed from everyday practice and the practical concerns of therapy. Each chapter presents a concept from existential philosophical tradition, such as anxiety, meaning making, time, and space, and then demonstrates their use by drawing from real-life clinical examples and interventions.

    The book illustrates their implementation in social work practice with reference to values such as client participation, self-determination, and free will. The book is intended for courses and advanced training in existential social work and therapy. It is essential reading for training social workers, counselors, therapists, and other helping professionals interested in existentialism.

    1. Anxiety 2. Choosing, Acting, and Responsibility 3. The Meaning of Meaning 4. Being With and Among Others 5. Being in Time 6. Being in space 7. Intervention in Existential Social Work 8. Toward an Integrative Implementation Model 9. Relationships in Existential Intervention


    Zvi Eisikovits, PhD, is a professor emeritus of social welfare and criminology, former Dean of the Faculty of Welfare and Health Studies at the University of Haifa in Israel, and former director of the Center for the Study of Society. He published around 120 articles and four books, mostly on the topics of intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and existentialism in practice.

    Eli Buchbinder, PhD, is associate professor at the School of Social Work, University of Haifa, Israel. He specializes in qualitative research and has published numerous journal articles in various fields of practice using existential theory. He has extensive practice as a social worker in various capacities.

    "Existential Social Work: Making Meaning in the Face of Distress provides an innovative approach to therapeutic practice. Analyzing practice from a philosophical perspective that is accessible to readers, the book offers practitioners and students a creative way for understanding and addressing the problems of their clients."

    Stanley L Witkin, expert in social constructivist theory in social work; President, GPTSW; former editor-in-chief of Social Work; Emeritus Professor of Social Work, University of Vermont; Adjunct Professor, University of Pennsylvania

    "Existential Social Work: Making Meaning in the Face of Distress weaves together existential theory with practice wisdom and a reflective stance, to describe and analyze the therapeutic process of reconstructing meaning. As such this book is bound to become an important resource for both scholars and practitioners interested in the field."

    Zahava Solomon, Professor Emerita, Bob Shapell School of Social Work; eminent trauma researcher; Head of The Multidisciplinary Center of Excellence for Mass Trauma Research, Tel Aviv University; holder of the Israel Price for Excellence in Social Sciences