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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces five central concepts of existential philosophy in order to deduce ethical principles for psychotherapy: phenomenology, authenticity, paradoxes, isolation, and freedom vs. destiny. Phenomenological perspectives are useful as a guideline for how to encounter and understand patients in terms of individuality and uniqueness. Existential communication as a means to search and face the truth of one’s existence is considered as a valid basis for an authentic life. Paradoxes that cannot be solved are characteristic for human existence and should be dealt with to turn resignation into active choices. Isolation is one of the “existentials” characterizing human life between two paradox poles: On the one hand we are deeply in need of relationships to other human beings; on the other hand we are thrown into the world alone and will always stay like this, no matter how close we get to another person. Further, addressing freedom and destiny as two extremes of one dimension can serve as a basis for orientation in life and also for dealing with the separation between responsibility and guilt.

Keywords: existential philosophy, phenomenology, authenticity, paradox of human existence, death, isolation, freedom, destiny, responsibility, guilt

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