Re-Visioning Existential Therapy : Counter-traditional Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

Re-Visioning Existential Therapy
Counter-traditional Perspectives

Edited By

Manu Bazzano

ISBN 9780367365615
Published September 29, 2020 by Routledge
360 Pages

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Book Description

Re-Visioning Existential Therapy is a collection of essays from leading practitioners and theorists around the globe which questions some of the key tenets of traditional existential therapy.

The book enlightens, stimulates, and provokes the reader out of complacency. It expands the breadth and scope of the approach, discusses recent developments in psychotherapy and philosophy, and aligns existential therapy to a progressive, radical, and counter-traditional ethos. Through clinical studies, personal reflections, discussions on aspects of theory, and exciting links to art, literature, and contemporary culture, these very diverse and wide-ranging contributions take existential therapy into the fertile wilderness of shared experience. Through renewed links to seminal writers, it captures the subversive spirit, the deep compassion, the unflinching gaze and playfulness that is at the heart of the approach.

The book will share knowledge and enthusiasm for the practice of existential therapy in order to encourage therapists and trainees to partake of the joys and challenges of existential practice.

Table of Contents

Part I The Risk of Communication; 1 Is Relatedness a Normative Ideal?; 2 Existential aspects of experiencing; 3 Learn to Forget: a Nietzschean Revaluation of Forgetting in Psychotherapy; 4 Fragments of an Existential Discourse; 5 Where Angels Fear to Tread: a Lived Experience of Striptease; 6 Existential Therapy: Relational Creative Engagement in Action; Part II Compliance and Emancipation; 7 Psychotherapy in an Age of Stupidity; 8 Authenticity and Difference: Heidegger’s Ontological Problem; 9 Radical Existentialism is Manuski: Existentially influenced psychoanalytic psychotherapy; 10 The Other of a Feminist Practice of Empathy; 11 Subversion Therapy and the Imperialism of Everyday Life; 12 Hack Therapy: A Radical Existential Practice; 13 A Person on the Edge of Inner and Outer Realities: a Therapist’s Reflections; 14 The Bi-Rooted Migrant: an Existential Journey; 15 The Poetry of the World: a Tribute to the Phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty; Part III Unreasonable Reason; 16 Kafka reading Kierkegaard: Always in a process of becoming; 17 Myth as a Container for Anxiety: Bion, the Unconscious, and Daseinsanalysis; 18 Talking Cure and Curing Talk: Therapy, Theory and the Already Dead; 19 Existence, Self, and Meaning: A Stranger in Search of Home; 20 Meaning and Meaninglessness of the Self ; 21 Existentialism or a Philosophy of Existence? Shestov and Existential Therapy; 22 Questioning Existential Psychotherapy from some Critical Existential-Analytic Moments; Part IV The Clinic and the Everyday; 23 The psychotherapeutic use of psychedelics: Reflections, critique and recommendations; 24 Understanding Francisco’s Schizophrenia: a Humanistic Phenomenological Research Method; 25 Dream Harder: a Phenomenological Exploration; 26 ‘Igor’s Pet Cemetery? Igor is out. Burying Cat’: a Memoir of Living and Dying; 27 Metaphoric Affect Processing: Reflecting and Transcending Self as a Metaphor; 28 Researching the Reference Points of Therapeutic Work of Existential Therapy; 29 Beautiful Losers

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Manu Bazzano is a psychotherapist/supervisor in private practice and an internationally recognized author, lecturer, and facilitator. He is an associate tutor at Cambridge University. Among his books: Buddha is Dead (2006); Spectre of the Stranger (2012); After Mindfulness (2014); Therapy and the Counter-tradition (2016); Zen and Therapy (2017); Re-visioning Person-centred Therapy (2018); Nietzsche and Psychotherapy (2019). He is a regular contributor to several academic journals and magazines.


"This is a brave and engaging book that takes no prisoners. For too long, existential therapy has been recruited in the service of socio-political conformity and evidence-based orthodoxy. It is not surprising then that many clinicians feel existentialism has failed to live up to its potential for inspiring psychic transformation. In this book, Bazzano has marshalled a formidable array of thinkers, academics and clinicians to provide a significant counter-traditional perspective on existential theory and practice. It offers a fresh and provocative ‘take’ on radical existential values, making an unmistakable clarion call for therapy whose values are underpinned by creativity rather than compliance, playfulness rather than protocols and meaning rather than medicalisation. It is a book for all thinking therapists. Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest."

Rosemary Rizq. Professor of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, University of Roehampton, UK

"With everything that’s solid melting into air, therapy has a choice: between peddling yet more conformist ways of adjusting to an unsustainable status quo (the ‘data before existence’ approach), or daring to ask the deepest existential questions about our humanity and being. With his finger invariably on the pulse, and with therapy-writing set free from its conventional, stultifying moorings, Manu Bazzano has assembled another leading-edge collection that opens up the kind of thinking that we must dare to allow, if we’re to make any sense of the current conjuncture. This is a book to work hard at – and a book that anyone caring about our human future must read."

Dr Richard House, Chartered Psychologist and author of Therapy Beyond Modernity and In, Against and Beyond Therapy

"An essential and important read for anyone wishing to explore the therapeutic aspects of existentialist philosophy. This collection evades, expands and enfolds traditional Western ideas concerning self and existence and invites into being (or becoming) a new tradition."

Dr Alexander Carter ITO and Academic Director for Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies,

Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge

"At a time when we are witnessing a move towards reducing our experience of life to linear and well-trodden narratives, this fascinating collection, edited by Manu Bazzano, accompanies us through familiar philosophical horizon, challenging us to encounter new perspectives."

Jo Hilton, Clinical Fellow, Counselling, Psychotherapy and Applied Social Science, University of Edinburgh

Themes of home, renunciation of home and nostalgia for home resound through the essays collected in Re-Visioning Existential Therapy.

The essays collected in the book instantiate various strategies for revivifying and politicising the thought of existential therapy, and getting out from under the long shadow of Heidegger.

In Re-Visioning Existential Therapy we see the [existential] tradition hearteningly alive, vigorously contending with its inner contradictions and seeking to re-imagine itself, as every healthy tradition periodically must.

Reviewed by Alex Gooch in the AHPB Magazine for Self & Society