Existential Therapy: Legacy, Vibrancy, and Dialogue

Existential Therapy: Legacy, Vibrancy, and Dialogue

Existential Therapy: Legacy, Vibrancy, and Dialogue

Existential Therapy: Legacy, Vibrancy, and Dialogue


In 1958 in their book Existence, Rollo May, Henri Ellenberger and Ernst Angel introduced existential therapy to the English-speaking psychotherapy world. Since then the field of existential therapy has moved along rapidly and this book considers how it has developed over the past fifty years, and the implications that this has for the future.

In their 50th anniversary of this classic book, Laura Barnett and Greg Madison bring together many of today's foremost existential therapists from both sides of the Atlantic, together with some newer voices, to highlight issues surrounding existential therapy today, and look constructively to the future whilst acknowledging the debt to the past. Dialogue is at the heart of the book, the dialogue between existential thought and therapeutic practice, and between the past and the future. Existential Therapy: Legacy, Vibrancy and Dialogue, focuses on dialogue between key figures in the field to cover topics including:

  • historical and conceptual foundations of existential therapy
  • perspectives on contemporary Daseinanalysis
  • the search for meaning in existential therapy
  • existential therapy in contemporary society.

Existential Therapy: Legacy, Vibrancy and Dialogueexplores how existential therapy has changed in the last five decades, and compares and contrasts different schools of existential therapy, making it essential reading for experienced therapists as well as for anyone training in psychotherapy, counselling, psychology or psychiatry who wants to incorporate existential therapy into their practice.


This series focuses on advanced and advancing theory in psychotherapy. Its aims are: to present theory and practice within a specific theoretical orientation or approach at an advanced, postgraduate level; to advance theory by presenting and evaluating new ideas and their relation to the particular approach; to locate the orientation and its psychotherapeutic applications within cultural contexts, both historically in terms of the origins of the approach, and contemporarily in terms of current debates about philosophy, theory, society and therapy; and, finally, to present and develop a critical view of theory and practice, especially in the context of debates about power, organisation and the increasing professionalisation of therapy.

This volume is a welcome addition to this series – and, indeed, I am delighted that the editors, Laura Barnett and Greg Madison, approached Routledge and myself to consider this book for the series. It is a welcome and worthy addition as it not only fulfils the brief of the series but does so in a way that is true to the spirit of its subject. the book acknowledges and stands as a tribute to the legacy of existential philosophy and thought; it reflects the resonance – as its subtitle suggests, the vibrancy – both of this legacy and of present thinking with regard to existential therapeutic practice; and, consistent with an important aspect of the method of existential therapy, a significant amount of the book has been written – and, of course, edited – through and in dialogue. the editors have engaged, and, at points in the book, literally engaged with an impressive array of authors who reflect current and advanced thinking in this field.

I received the manuscript just as I was about to set out for a tramp or long, three day walk – on the Milford Track on the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. I decided to take the first half of the manuscript with me, and read it in the evenings we spent in the huts along the track. the book complemented the vastness and remoteness of the setting, and certainly enhanced my thinking about existence, existentialism, and existential therapy, an appreciation which remained as I completed reading the . . .

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