Existenzanalyse 2/2014

This article TEMIR – A Test to Measure Existential Motivations in Interpersonal Relationships: Factorial Structure, Reliability and Validity

Elena M. Ukolova, Vladimir B. Shumskiy, Evgeny N. Osin

The aim of our study was to develop a new measure of existential fulfilment in interpersonal relationships, operationalizing Längle’s theory of the four existential fundamental motivations.  Using expert procedures, we developed a pool of 80 items and investigated its structure in a Russian-speaking sample (N=634). We used exploratory factor analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis to select 3 indicator items for each of the 3 prerequisites of each of the 4 fundamental existential motivations. Confirmatory factor analysis supported a hierarchical structure of the 36-item set with 12 first-order factors and 4 second-order factors. Each of the 12 subscales and the 4 scales demonstrated acceptable reliability (Cronbach’s alphas > 0.80). The scales of the questionnaire allowed to differentiate between relationships self-reported as “successful” and “unsuccessful”, and exhibited statistically significant correlations with two measures of general existential fulfilment, Existence Scale (Längle, Orgler, Kundi, 2000) and Test of Existential Motivations (Eckhardt, 2000). Path analysis (conducted using Mplus 7.11 software) indicated that fulfilment of the 3rd and the 4th fundamental motivations (Authenticity and Meaning, respectively) in relationships was the most essential to general existential fulfilment. We also investigated the differences in the experience of relationships across gender and relationship types (i.e., “free” relationship, unregistered marriage, official marriage). The results indicated that females tended to report more positive experiences of relationship. The difference in the relationship types reflecting the degree of personal commitment in a relationship was a stronger predictor of perceived fulfilment, compared to gender. We propose to use the Test of Existential Motivations in Interpersonal Relationships (TEMIR) as a new Russian-language research instrument and discuss potential future research avenues.
Key words: authenticity, fundamental existential motivations, interpersonal relationships, meaning, trust, value of life

Client resources from the perspective of psychotherapists

Madeleine Prochaska, Bianca Bertl, Alfried Längle, Astrid Görtz

The client as active agent with his potentials and resources is more and more acknowledged in psychotherapy research (Bohart & Greaves Wade 2013). In the present study existential analytical psychotherapists and psychotherapists of other theoretical schools (participating in the International Congress of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis 2013) evaluated the helpfulness of predefined resources in their therapeutic work. Additionally they were asked to choose the three most helpful resources. For this purpose a questionnaire was developed by an expert group (instructional trainers, researchers) consisting of resources containing theoretical concepts of Existential Analysis and resources not related to Existential Analysis. The results revealed, that existential analytical resources were rated significantly higher compared to the others. Both groups of therapists selected predominantly existential analytical resources as the three most helpful of all given resources. Results indicate an overlap between theoretical concepts regarding resources of different psychotherapy orientations, although a sample bias can be assumed due to the study setting. Future studies should imply qualitative research methods to allow for a more differentiated and diverse insight into the field of psychotherapy resources.
Keywords: Existential Analysis, Logotherapy, empirical study, resources, client resources, therapist perspective

The actualization of the person
Existential analytical contributions to the personization of existence

Alfried Längle

In Existential Analysis the key to existence is seen in the activation of the person. A procedure addressing and seeking to mobilize the resources of the person is therefore essential in Existential Analysis and in every psychotherapy. – In order to achieve this aim, properties of the person and the self are initially presented and anthropologically reflected upon in relation to corporeality and to the personal-existential fundamental motivations. The reciprocity of structure and process thereby becomes significant, which provides the framework for the actualization of the person: the access via the structure model of fundamental motivations as well as the process model of Personal Existential Analysis (PEA). The dynamic basic activities of the person are illuminated (seeing – integrating – encountering), and subsequently the prerequisites for the development of the self are described (attention – empathy – taking position). In interaction with the self, the person can become effective in presence and in existence. Deep down however, the person resonates in a spiritual depth with being and life – subsequently becoming an inner counterpart due to the self. An activation of the person can solely follow, when originating from the characteristics of the person and the interplay with the self. This is how the human being can attain, via personhood, the essence of life: come into contact with being, in which the personal meaning of existence unfolds.
Keywords: person, resources, existence, actualization, spirituality

„In vivid abeyance“
On the liberty and unavailability of the person

Helmut Dorra

The person is founded in itself, singular in its existence und unique in its essence: subject of liberty. It fulfills itself in its scope of potentialities, historically oriented towards its world and environment in existential coexistence and encountering dialog, thereby establishing our relationships in human community. The person, in its own being, is given space in an interpersonal reciprocity to take position with its personal motives and valuations, enabling its unrepresentable and unmistakable individuality to appear. Nevertheless, with reservation of its unavailability, it also always remains unknown and concealed due to the distanciation within the unconditionality of being a subject, which is reluctant to our knowing and objectifying determination. Within its belonging to itself, the person by no means is definable while seeking to appropriate or take possession of it by making it a certifiable fact or fixating it as an object. In point of fact, liberty and dignity of the person is respected when we “keep it in vivid abeyance” and make an enquiring effort to “follow it into all possible changes and evolvements” (Max Frisch).
Keywords: fear, encounter, dialog, liberty, serenity, individuality, living environment, love, being with, person, shame, being oneself, motive of path, dignity

Person and structure
Humanity between the poles of freedom and commitment

Christoph Kolbe

As an existential school of thought of humanistic psychotherapy, Existential Analysis pays particular attention to the ability of humans to conduct themselves freely and responsibly in their situational relationship to the world, to take authentic decisions and to carry out acts in accordance with values. This becomes possible due to the fact, that the human is person. Thus, Existential Analysis seeks to address the human as a person, as well as to help realize their personhood when it becomes blocked.
The article therefore provides a brief overview of the specifics in the understanding of the person; its emotional tendency towards being impressionable, its ability to take position and its capability to participate creatively in the world.
For psychotherapeutic work it is especially important to consider to which extent fulfillment of personhood does not succeed due to fears or lack of self-structure. In these cases, the fears or the way of dealing with them is to be worked on. When necessary the self-structure is to be strengthened in order to pave the way for fulfillment of the personality.
Keywords: person, structure, self-structure, existential functions, personal activities, fundamental motivations, Personal Existential Analysis, conflicts

Existential Grounding: Experience of being as a resource of the person
Building blocks for deepening the integration of the felt body in existential analysis

Markus Angermayr

The pre-reflexive body-corporeal experience of basic stabilizing, strengthening, and nourishing phenomena of being in existence is focused on in practice.
The bodily-corporeal person which finds itself in a certain situation is point of departure in existential analytical work. Rhythms lending stability and structure persist and evolve such as respiration, heartbeat, expansion and contraction and so on. It’s a matter of tracing these phenomena and dwelling upon them. They grant access to the level of the ground of being and fundamental values. It is a state change leading from everyday consciousness to a felt experience of being onward to an “I am” experienced in the depth – it is hence a plain immersion into the mystery of the self-evident (Patocka 1991).
Despite all psychodynamic difficulty, basic resources can be found in the depth of body-corporeal processes, which leads to what Existential Analysis states: Being is by itself already ability.
Keywords: being in existence, grounding, body-corporeal, experience of being

How do you speak with yourself?
Guidance towards the inner dialog

Karin Steinert

The person is what is speaking in me, so one of its characteristics is read. How someone talks with him/herself provides information on the manner in which self-relationship is lived. Then again, self-relationship has a decisive influence on how the relationship to the world is shaped.
Existential analytical psychotherapy is invariably guidance to inner dialog. The psychotherapist is a role model for how personal encounter takes place in dialogue. This experience can be adopted by the patient for his/her inner world. The patient thereby learns to deal with him/herself in an attentive, caring and respectful manner and increasingly opens up to the outer world.
It is demonstrated, by means of a case study from therapeutic practice, how the voice of the person can be distinguished from other inner voices and how guidance towards inner dialog represents a possibility to obtain access to the resources of the person in psychotherapy.
Keywords: inner dialogue, case study, Personal Existential Analysis

Focusing on “resources” may distort the view of the human being

Jürgen Kriz

In contemporary psychotherapeutic discourses, the focus has shifted from disorder, disease, and deficiencies to resources[1] and potentials of the patients. The question remains however, whether all mean the same when dealing with these concepts. From the perspective of humanistic psychotherapy, therapists thereby foster and support the development of potentials, enabling them to update or readapt in accordance with the requirements of the patient´s social and material surroundings. By contrast, some approaches – for example, the “third wave of behaviour therapy” – use the term “resource orientation” in order to train skills and social techniques.
The article discusses the history and a humanistic meaning of “resource”, “potential”, and “actualization” in contrast to a more functional understanding of these terms – and of the human being.
Keywords:  actualizing, humanistic psychotherapy, person, potential, resource

[1] The english terms “resource” and “potential” have different connotations compared to the German “Ressource” and “Potential”: “Resource” refers more to material and immaterial goods (“human resource management”) while “potential” (in the area of psychotherapy) is more or less associated with the ideas of “Human Potential Movement (HPM)”.  In German language both terns are more “neutral” and refer to a wide scope of potential abilities in development where some may unfold and others will not – due to the adaptive conditions of the patient´s environment.

Resource work in trauma therapy

Karin Matuszak-Luss

The importance of working with resources in trauma therapy is outlined in the following article. Publications concerning trauma therapy and work with resources by Watkins J.G. and Watkins H.H., the founders of Ego State Therapy, are referred to. The ideas of Peichl J. and Fritzsche K., other representatives of the Ego State therapy, are considered as well. The Psychodynamic Imaginative Trauma therapy by Reddemann L. constitutes a significant approach to traumatized people, and is therefore also reflected. Overlaps between the existential analytical theory and practice, the Ego State Theory and Therapy and the Psychodynamic Imaginative Trauma therapy are pointed out and then discussed. Short case histories round up the theoretical descriptions.
Keywords: Ego State Therapy, Existential Analysis, work with resources

A message from the body?
The inner dialogue of the psychosomatic patients

Renate Bukovski

“Ill with negative (or with results not sufficiently explaining the symptoms) results” is a significant phenomenon of patients with somatoform disorders and psychosomatic illnesses in a narrower sense. The appearing physical symptoms cannot be elucidated superficially and most often render patients and their practitioners helpless. By means of a case study from existential analytical practice, it is pointed out how these physical symptoms can lead the patient into an inner dialogue and understand the own development. The phenomenological work aims at perceiving the bodily (often painfully) felt, at attentiveness towards and encountering what is speaking here and now (often with the help of inner imagery). By approaching the “message of the body”, those affected are to reach corporeal understanding and enter a personal process. The aim is an updating of the person towards an active, resource-oriented way of dealing with oneself and the disorder, accompanied by one`s own self-healing powers.
Keywords: imagination, inner dialogue, phenomenology, psychosomatics

“I take the liberty…”
Recount on an existential analytical theatre-educational workshop

Martina Juen

The article at hand contains the description of a theatre-project for existential-analytical consultants and therapists. Selected existential-analytical contents were prepared with theatre-educational methods, with the intention to make this an immediate and engaging experience. In ‘Part One’, the existential-analytical background and the theatre-educational theory of the workshop is briefly outlined. ‘Part Two’ describes the conducted workshop in detail, reflects the intention and effect from an existential-analytical perspective, and is supplemented with feedback from present participants.
Keywords: Existential-analytical fundamental motivation, phenomenology, creative methods, group self-awareness and reflection

Therapy for two or more: From individual to extended setting and back
Resource oriented short–term interventions with partners or relatives of (adult) clients

Marc Sattler, Susanne Pointner

The theme of the workshop resulted from experience in everyday practice. However much we guide our clients towards finding what is one`s own and implement the worked out steps independently, it may also be helpful to provide direct support through a dialogue with a significant reference person. The extension of a setting from the couple-client encounter to a consultation with three or four bears both opportunities und risks. These are examined in the workshop, while pointing out basic approaches for a proficient application of the extended setting. The article presents the procedure and several content issues.
Keywords: relatives, dialogue supervision, setting

Potentials of the Person – Resource orientation in psychotherapy, consulting, coaching and pedagogy
A brief outline from a gestalt-therapeutic point of view

Dorothea Bünemann

Gestalt therapy is an existential-phenomenological experience-activating therapy method. It aims to further personal growth and personality development in a variety of ways. This is illustrated on the basis of the theory of the “self” and the concept of the “organism/environment field”.
Keywords: organism/environment field, potential, resources, self

Online counselling: Is personal work via Internet possible? (Workshop)

Tobias Jahn

Over the past few years counselling via e-mail and chat is increasing in the psychosocial fields of work. While for educational counselling centres, health insurances or self-help initiatives this form of establishing contact is already a matter of routine, humanistic-existential professionals remain sceptical. Should it be possible to reach advice-seekers online in an existential-personal way? Are there any advantages for existential-analytic work? And what about the legal framework?
The article traces the technical and professional development over the last 15 years and takes a look at their practical challenges. In the process a special focus is set on the legal frame, especially on the treatment agreement
Keywords: treatment agreement, e- counselling, existential-personal work

Correspondence courses in Existential Analysis

Irina Ryazanova

Therapy and counseling can – with limitations – also be achieved through long-distance-contact via Internet, since an adequate therapeutic process is possible. The phenomenological method is a good prerequisite for remote counseling. The article describes the experiences of the author with long-distance-contact patients and provides a detailed overview of specific types of remote counseling. Furthermore, necessary organizational, technical and methodological steps are discussed which are needed for the development of correspondence courses in Existential Analysis. A case study of remote therapy rounds off the contribution.
Keywords: case study, remote therapy/counseling, correspondence courses, group and individual setting

How do I look after myself?
Mindful movement as an access to the person

Sigrid Happ

What everyday life with its requirements and tasks demands from us, often firstly becomes clearly perceptible on the corporeal bodily level. Our body can be understood as a mediator between the world intruding upon us and the resources and potentials existing in us. The practice of mindfulness supports conscious perception of the occurring present before it becomes a burden.
Keywords: attentiveness, corporeality, mindfulness, embodiment

Health and age – perspectives from salutogenesis

Thomas Schukai

Health is an outstanding value for mankind, gaining in importance with advanced age. At the same time, health in old age is exposed to additional burdens.
Against this background, health promotion for aging persons takes place in a modified context, which is developed on the basis of salutogenesis of Antonovsky. In line with this approach, three categories are decisive for the maintenance of health: comprehensibility, manageability, meaningfulness. By means of studies it is shown, how they concretely influence the health and life expectancy of aging persons.
Keywords: factors for high life expectancy, health at an advanced age, salutogenesis and experience of values

Resources of caregivers
Wish and reality

Eva Liesmann

Care for the sick and elderly people is above all relation work partially accomplished under difficult conditions. From where do caregivers draw strength and motivation to do their work? What can caregivers, and we as logo therapists actively undertake to say yes to our work over and over again and to support our resources?
Keywords: geriatric nursing, relationship work, motivation of caregivers

Resource oriented nursing and care for persons subjected to dementia

Astrid Ludwigkeit

The experience of persons subjected to dementia is equivalent to a chronic crisis situation characterized by situations of loss and failure. Above all the cognitive deficits lead to a reduction of orientation abilities, behavioral control, autonomy and self-determination. Nevertheless, resources in form of acquired copings are at the disposal of subjected persons which can contribute to accomplishing everyday life. These fixated behavioral patterns are an expression of inner motives, fundamental aspirations and existential structures corresponding to the four fundamental motivations. Understanding and supporting them is the task of gerontological psychiatric nursing practice and care work.
Keywords: hermeneutics, dementia, challenging behavior

Refusal and hopitalism in case of a one year old child from a phenomenological and existential perspective

Albina Viktorovna Loktionova

The article describes how it came, that the Personal Existential Analysis (PEA) was employed by child psychotherapists in a children`s rehabilitation home in Wladiwostok, Russia, in order to treat a one year old child with refusal reactions and regression after having lost its parents. The main focus lies on the phenomenal content and phenomenological analysis of the experts subjective perceptions and intuitively felt, allowing personal positioning and consequently enabling therapeutic aid in form of a dialogical process for the not speaking child. Step by step, the stages in overcoming the major difficulties and the gained insights are described, facilitating treatment for similar cases in the future.
Keywords: core self, child psychotherapy, PEA, phenomenological analysis, regression, self, trauma

An existential analytical contribution to developmental psychology

Roman Biberich und Andrea Szklenar

In this article, considerations are presented on a draft existential analytical theory of developmental psychology. For this purpose, we firstly present the basic needs of human life according to traditional developmental psychology and neurobiology in excerpts followed by a summary outlining the existential-analytical structure and process model, in order to finally combine these areas into a dynamic model. We thereby seek to provide an existential analytically oriented contribution to developmental psychology and thus also to diagnostics and treatment plan in existential analytical psychotherapeutic practice.
Keywords: developmental psychology, basic needs, PEA, basic motivations

We do not learn for school, but for life
Can school pave the way for life?

Hans-Jürgen Strauch

Seneca criticized that „we learn not in the school, but in life“. In today’s risk society our knowledge, abilities, and skills may not suffice to enable fulfillment in the face of life’s complexity and the disorientation it causes.
Teaching experience shows that it is not externally controlled learning that can prepare us for life. Instead, this can be achieved through self-organized self-efficient acting in exchange with a counterpart, which integrates emotions, motivations, mindsets, abilities, experience, values, and the will to seek meaning. This provides a basis for an extensive personal qualification that allows problem solving in a complex personal nexus. Substantial key qualifications are developed through competency-relevant behavior and communicative social acting. From a personal point of view this requires independent experience, authentic reaction, and responsible action.
Keywords: competencies, key qualifications, person, development potential

Positive psychology and philosophy of happiness
Report on a compulsory optional subject at gymnasium

Maria Angleitner

Initiated by already implemented projects such as the “subject happiness” in Heidelberg or “well-being” in Wellington (GB), the compulsory optional subject “positive psychology and philosophy of happiness” is taught in Vienna since the year 2010. The subject intends to give students room for questions concerning happiness and a successful life, and also teach concrete methods and point out ways to actively and responsibly shape their lives in a positive and meaningful manner.
The report outlines the manifold teaching contents and methods and thereby gives students a voice with their experiences.
Keywords: gratitude, happiness, education