Manual Psychotherapy and Phenomenology: On Freud, Husserl and Heidegger

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New articles related to this author's research. Email address for updates. My profile My library Metrics Alerts. Sign in. Verified email at nhs. Articles Cited by. Counselling psychology quarterly 5 4 , , Counselling psychology quarterly 7 3 , , Counselling Psychology Quarterly 7 4 , , Counselling Psychology Quarterly 6 3 , , British Journal of Guidance and Counselling 25 2 , , Life in the Glory of Its Radiating Manifestations, , British journal of medical psychology 68 2 , , Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 46 1 , , Journal of Psychotherapy Integration 19 2 , , British Journal of Guidance and Counselling 27 2 , , Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology 7 1 , , Articles 1—20 Show more.

Help Privacy Terms. Applying social constructionism to psychotherapy IR Owen Counselling psychology quarterly 5 4 , , Introducing an existential-phenomenological approach: basic phenomenological theory and research—part I IR Owen Counselling psychology quarterly 7 3 , , Through his concern with the ontological foundation of experiencing and understanding Heidegger displaces the concept of understanding.

Understanding is a way of being situated in time and space. We are always already thrown into a preexisting world of people and objects, language, and culture and this constitutes our existence. The conditions for all human Being are an understanding which is not rationalistic but is rooted in our very existence.

This existing is always factical Heidegger Our understanding is always rooted in a world of doings and practice Dreyfus Time and temporality was a major issue of concern for Heidegger Heidegger Our experience and our existence are always understood in a temporal context between past, present, and future. Dasein is a process in a threefold temporal context and directedness: toward the future ahead of itself , its factual being thrownness , and its being lost in daily preoccupations.

Each element of care has its basis in temporality and the meaning of care is temporality.


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Temporality reveals itself as the meaning of authentic care. Dasein's existentiality is always more than it is at a given time-point. We understand things from certain framework conditions, which we cannot objectify or explain completely. We see things in their appearing , which means that a phenomenon is not clearly showing itself but that it makes itself known, announcing itself without showing itself. Finding a meaning therefore always involves an element of interpretation Smith et al.

The word phenomenology is derived from the Greek phenomenon and logos. Phenomenon means appearance, which can have different forms where some are disguised or latent. Logos, or discourse, is the analytical thinking, which helps facilitate or grasp this appearing. As in qualitative analysis, coming to a possible understanding of an underlying meaning of another person's description of phenomena depends on this analytical thinking, reflection, and interpretation.

For Heidegger, phenomenology meant to make sense of the appearing and he argued against a presuppositionless descriptive phenomenology Heidegger Our understanding is always founded upon the fore-conception. Interpretation becomes a cyclical activity from the things to the forestructure. The fore-structure is always there but Heidegger thought that the understanding of one's own fore-structures went through the experience of the things themselves.

We are not aware of the forestructures beforehand, and we cannot uncover the forestructures in other ways than through analysis of the things or phenomena. For example, when encountering a text we do not know which of our forestructures are relevant. This is revealed through engagement with the text and reflection upon what could possibly have influenced the interpretation.

Further, Heidegger opened up phenomenology to interpretation through language. Through language he anticipated the narrative approach, which was later formulated by Ricoeur, who saw narrative and time as mutually related. In his considerations about time, Ricoeur takes a point of departure in Heidegger's thinking Ricoeur Heidegger's dynamic understanding of foreunderstanding and the greater focus on interpretation led to a reevaluation of the role of bracketing Smith et al.

This form of bracketing calls for a process of thorough reflexivity where the researchers discuss the preconceptions and forestructures that the analysis has made them aware of and that they make these preconceptions transparent to the audience or the readers. A repeated circle of bracketing processes is inevitable.

We suspend attention to selected phenomena, for the time being, to concentrate on other phenomena. Gadamer accepted Heidegger's claim that phenomenology must proceed in hermeneutic fashion.

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Gadamer addresses the fundamental problems of phenomenology. He does so, however, not in Husserlian terminology but in elaborating on the ontology of language and the accessibility of the truth and presence of things Figal Heidegger stressed the need for interpretation. Gadamer realized it fully, both epistemologically and methodologically. In Gadamer's view understanding is always interpretation Gadamer Like Heidegger, Gadamer emphasized that our very existence is hermeneutic.

In his principal work Truth and Method Gadamer , he points to the essential prejudice character of all understanding. Because we are influenced by prejudices our openness to the world is biased and we can never, even through reflection, entirely keep a critical distance and objectify. For Gadamer, the past has a truly pervasive power in the phenomenon of understanding Linge Like prejudice and tradition, the past also defines the ground the interpreter himself occupies when he understands.

Phenomenological Approaches in Psychology and Health Sciences

We always have a horizon of meanings because the world has always already been given a meaning for us. The interpretations we make of ourselves and our surroundings are determined by conditions which we can never explain comprehensively. Understanding involves the person who tries to understand and who interprets. With Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics the horizon of the interpreter enters into the picture. This is also the case for historical events.


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Understanding is from the present perspective. The past is contained in the present and is interpreted from that perspective. All interpretation implies a form of perspectivism and is necessarily selective. Our historical context gives direction and sets limits for what can be experienced. We are born into a community based on traditions. In this way history does not belong to us, we belong to history Gadamer According to Gadamer we must, in contrast to traditional hermeneutics, abstain from the subjectivity of the subject. Like Heidegger, he underlines the inevitable influence of the interpreter's horizon and the existential dimension of this understanding: we are our understanding.

Understanding is the original form of the realization of Dasein Gadamer This understanding is both conditioned and limited by an always already linguistically and historically promoted understanding which we take for granted. Gadamer drew attention to the importance of language Gadamer Interpretation had to find an appropriate language to present the understanding. All understanding is linguistic in the sense that language constitutes the conceptual basis for understanding.

Gadamer thinks that we can never free ourselves from our prejudices and our ways of understanding based on the time we are living in, not even as researchers. It is not possible to reach a complete and correct interpretation. Understanding is based on the application of the phenomenon to our own context Gadamer Gadamer attaches little importance to precise methodological questions but rather is occupied with the understanding which precedes every systematic and specific investigation. His hermeneutics represents a criticism of all forms of method fixation in human sciences and sciences of art and should be related to practical life Gadamer Gadamer , p.

Unconsciousness Between Phenomenology and Psychoanalysis

This gives the philosophical hermeneutics a form of universality. All sciences have common features and are basically historical and interpretive. As a philosopher, Ricoeur also took his point of departure in phenomenology. His primary philosophical inspiration came from Husserl and Jaspers. Later, however, he combined phenomenological description with hermeneutic interpretation Ricoeur Ricoeur was particularly concerned with interpretation, primarily with interpreting text.

He stated that human action should be understood as text and that such an approach would enable better understanding and interpretation.

Ricoeur was critical of Husserlian phenomenology. To Ricoeur, phenomenology did not carry the significance of universal method that it did for Husserl. Instead he developed a dialectic of methods and a reflective philosophy. He thought it impossible that man could know himself directly or introspectively. This led to an indirect reflective procedure and a route via symbol and interpretation, which constituted the opening of a hermeneutic phenomenology Ihde Ricoeur formulated two forms of hermeneutics or interpretation: interpretation as recollection of meanings and interpretation according to a school of suspicion Ricoeur Ricoeur states that an area where all philosophical investigations cut across one another is the area of language This led him from a perceptualist to a linguistic phenomenology Ihde He distinguished between discourse and language.

Discourse is the spoken language, sentences which give meaning, exist temporarily and are addressed to another. Language is a system of signs and exists outside time.

Ian Rory Owen - Google Scholar Citations

Discourse can be spoken or written; transcripts of research interviews are something in between. In written discourse the possibility of capturing the intention of the author fades, such that any appropriation of meaning must always remain an approximation. Appropriation is the way in which we attempt to interpret meaning Ricoeur Ricoeur's thinking was that the text is both taken at face-value and described from a phenomenological standpoint and interpreted with a hermeneutic interpretation.

This demands a search for hidden meanings through the interpretation of symbols and myths Ricoeur A key element for Ricoeur of engaging with the text was the notion of play Ricoeur , p. Play is used as indirect approaches to works of art or dreams and is not always conscious.