The renewal of humanism in psychoanalytic therapy

Robert D Stolorow
Psychotherapy 2012, 49 (4): 442-4
The renewal of humanistic values and practices in contemporary psychoanalytic therapy is exemplified vividly by the impact of Heidegger's existential philosophy on a psychoanalytic perspective called post-Cartesian psychoanalysis. This perspective is a phenomenological-contextualist one in which the focus of psychoanalytic inquiry is shifted from Cartesian isolated minds to ways of being-in-the-world, and from endogenously arising drive derivatives to relationally constituted emotional experiences. A phenomenological-contextualist approach is shown to be especially fruitful in the understanding of, and therapeutic approach to, emotional trauma. The establishment of a hospitable relational home in which traumatic emotional pain and excruciating existential vulnerability can find a context of human understanding in which they can be held is crucial for therapeutic transformation.

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