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Existential psychoanalysis

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A mode of [[analysis ]] outlined by [[Sartre]] in his classic essay on [[phenomenological ]] [[ontology]].<ref>Sartre 1943a</ref>
Its principles are derived from [[Sartre]]'s [[existentialism]] and it supplies the basic methodology for his biographical studies of Baudelaire, Genet and Flaubert for his essay in autobiography.
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[[Existential psychoanalysis]] differs from the [psychoanalysis]] elaborated by [[Freud]] in a [[number ]] of important respects.
It has no therapeutic goals as such, even though elements of the [[theory ]] do feed into the practices of [[anti-psychiatry]], but is intended to provide a means of [[understanding ]] individuals.
Given the fundamental Sartean contention that it is [[death ]] alone that transforms a [[life ]] into a destiny or something that can be [[full ]] [[understood]], biography is its main field of application.
[[Sartre]] explicitly rejects the postulate of the [[unconscious]], arguing that all [[mental ]] phenomena are coextensive with [[consciousness]] even though the mechanisms of 'bad [[faith]]' mean that the [[subject]] is not lucidly aware of [[them]].
Other aspects of [[Freud]]'s [[metapsychology ]] are criticized for their abstraction.
[[Desire]] for an [[object]] is not, for example, a [[symbolization ]] of some more fundamental [[sexual ]] desire but a mode of [[consciousness]] expressing a [[desire]] ''to be'' or, ultimately, to achieve the [[impossible ]] [[unity ]] of [[being]]-in-oneself and being-for-oneself.
The [[psychoanalytic ]] reliance of [[symbolic ]] equations, such as the unconscious equation between faeces and gold, is criticized for its failure to grasp the [[meaning ]] of such equations for specific individuals in specific 'situations' by establishing a much more general and abstractedly [[universal ]] [[symbolism]].
Similarly, [[Sartre]] holds that the [[concept ]] of [[libido]] is meaningless unless it is referrd to the [[experience ]] of the [[individual]]; [[libido]] does not [[exist ]] [[outside ]] its [[concrete ]] fixations.
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In the opening pages of his monumental but unfinished study of Flaubert, [[Sartre]] defines the goals of his existential [[psychoanalysis]] by asking: "What can we [[know ]] of a man today?"
Arriving at an understanding of what an individual is implies a reconstruction of a [[family ]] and [[social ]] [[situation]], but also of the [[project ]] that defines how the individual will live that situation.
The basic [[thesis ]] is that the individual is a [[totality ]] or '[[singular ]] universal' and not merely a collection of disparate phenomena and incidents.
It follows that the most 'insignificant' details of [[behavior ]] express that totality and [[form ]] part of the individual project in which the individual chooses his [[existence ]] and life within the limits imposed by his or her situation.
The [[genius ]] of a Falubert or a Genet is not a [[gift]], but the way the writer chooses to escape from an impossible situation, the way in which he chooses his life and the meaning of his [[universe]].
Thus the ten-year-old Jean Genet is caught stealing and is told: "You are a theif."
Defined by the [[Other]] and shamed by the other, he assumes that definition with the defiant "I will be a thief," and the [[inversion ]] of values implied in that assumption will define his [[aesthetics ]] and [[ethics ]] of [[betrayal ]] and criminality because it signals the [[choice ]] of a [[world ]] and a mode of being in the world.
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The term '[[existential psychoanalysis]]' is also applied to the [[clinical ]] theory of the Swiss [[psychiatrist]], Ludwig Binswanger (1881-1966), though it is more properly described as ''[[Daseinanalyse]]''.
According to Binswanger, [[Heidegger]]'s concept of [[Dasein ]] provides the therapist with a tool that frees him from the prejudices of [[scientific ]] theory and allows him to describe the clinical phenomena he encounters in all their phenomenological depth.
Mental [[illness ]] is viewed not simply as a pathological disorder, but as a modified mode of being-in-the-world; what is lost in illness is Dasein's [[freedom ]] to organize the world, and the [[goal ]] of [[therapy ]] is to restore that freedom.
One of [[Foucault]]'s first publications (1954) was a lucid introduction to a [[French ]] [[translation ]] of Binswanger's ''Traum und Existenz'' ([[Dream ]] and existence, 1930).
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