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The Role of Phenomenology in Existential Analysis and Logotherapy (GLE-Vienna)

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The Existential Analytical approach of Alfried Längle, which developed from Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy, recognizes itself as a phenomenological psychotherapeutic school of therapy. This talk explores the meaning of ‘phenomenological’ in Existential Analysis

It is shown that Phenomenology in Existential Analysis plays a triple role on different levels:
(1) On an ontological level Existential Analysis rejects the subject-object dichotomy and assumes that relation is ontological prior to any form of substance. Further, the central concepts (Existence, Intention, Freedom, Responsibility, Values, Emotion) are drawn from phenomenologists, mainly from Martin Heidegger and Max Scheler.
(2) On an ontic level it explores psychic disorders in a comprehension-orientated manner. As an example the understanding of depression as a weakness in intentional-feeling of values is presented. On this level it is not clear if this method is ‘phenomenological’ in the strict sense because Existential Analysis classifies psychic disorders according to four fundamental conditions/motivations for fulfilled existence.
(3) The therapeutic stance: In therapeutic consultation Heideggers phenomenological method – reduction, construction, destruction – is applied. On this level it is important to note, that Heidegger used this method for the illumination of essential structures on the ontological level, not for an ontic description.

It is argued, while on the ontological level (1) the role of phenomenology is comprehensible, on the ontic levels (2,3) the use of this concept is much less clear. It is explored what ‘phenomenological’ means on the ontic level. Does this simply mean descriptive or is there a deeper meaning of ‘phenomenological approach’?