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Existential Psychology

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Explain the main concepts (i.e., "being-in-the-world" mean, Umwelt, Mitwelt, Eigenwelt, etc.) of Existential Psychology. What are the six underlying assumptions or principles of existential psychology? Is there a type of personality theory implicit in Existential Psychology? Name one key figure. Thanks.

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Solution Summary

In terms of Existential Psychology, this solution examines the core concepts (i.e., "being-in-the-world" mean, Umwelt, Mitwelt, Eigenwelt, etc.). It also examines the six underlying assumptions or principles of existential psychology and if there is a type of personality theory implicit in Existential Psychology. It also explains the goal of therapy and the theory of one key proponent.

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Core Characteristics of Existential Psychology


I. Being-in-the -world: This concept emphasizes the unity of person and environment, since, in this heavily phenomenological position, both are subjectively defined. Being-in-the-world has three components:

1. Umwelt ("world around") - the natural world of biological urge and drive.
2. Mitwelt ("with-world") - the social, interactive, interpersonal aspects of existence.
3. Eigenwelt ("own world") - the subjective, phenomenological world of the self.

Six underlying assumptions or ontological principles:

1. Every person is centered in self and lives life through the meaning he or she places on that center.
2. Every person is responsible for mobilizing the courage to protect the self, to affirm it, and to enhance its continued existence.
3. People need other people with whom they can empathize and from whom they can learn.
4. People are vigilant about potential dangers to their identities.
5. People can be aware of themselves thinking and feeling at one moment and may be aware of themselves as the person who thinks and feels in the next moment.
6. Anxiety originates, in part, out of a person's awareness that one's being can end.

The goals of integration:

Rollo May conceives of the human being as conscious of self, capable of intentionality, and needing to make choices. To do this we must recognize and confront the paradoxes of our lives. A paradox is too opposing things posited against each other all the while the fact is that they cannot exist without each other. Thus, good and evil; life and death; and beauty and ugliness appear to be at odds with each other, but the very confrontation with one breathes life and meaning into the other. The goals of integration include confronting ...

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