Daseinsanalysis—the psychiatric and psychotherapeutic school of thought founded by Ludwig Binswanger and Medard Boss in the 1940s—had a huge impact on the development of existential therapies in the English-speaking world. This highly stimulating and lucid book gives a critical overview of the daseinsanalytic concepts of Binswanger and Boss and explains their key differences despite the common reference to Freudian psychoanalysis and the Heideggerian philosophy from which daseinsanalysis took its name. The author gives a systematic account of a new approach to mental suffering based on Kierkegaard, Heidegger and Sartre that never loses sight of Freud’s fundamental insight into the hidden meaning of apparently senseless neurotic symptoms. She goes on to demonstrate that mental suffering is a ‘suffering from our own being’ and the mentally suffering patient is an individual overwhelmed by frightening experiences of the finitude and frailty of the human condition that can neither be suppressed nor tolerated. Finally, the author considers the therapeutic implications of the existential view of mental suffering and concludes that Freud’s three technical rules provide the optimal conditions for understanding and engaging with these baffling existential experiences.
Alice Holzhey-Kunz, Ph.D. is a philosopher and daseinsanalytic psychotherapist in Zurich, Switzerland. She is president of the Society for Hermeneutic Anthropology and Daseinsanalysis and co-founder and co-president of the Daseinsanalytic Seminar in Zurich, where she teaches and supervises candidates. She has written three books and many articles on daseinsanalytic theory and on a new approach that combines psychoanalytic and existentialist perspectives. She is the co-editor of the new edition of Ludwig Binswanger’s selected works.
‘There are few truly thought-provoking books—this is one that draws on an extensive knowledge not only of daseinsanalysis but also psychoanalysis and 20th-century philosophy‘.
– Joachim Küchenhoff, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Psychoanalyst, Basel Switzerland