HS 838: Existential Psychoanalysis

This course aims to bring about familiarity with the conception and practice of psychology and psychoanalysis in the context of contemporary developments in Continental thought: phenomenology, existentialism, and post-structuralism. Beginning with the works of Franz Brentano (act psychology) and Wilhelm Dilthey (human science) the course would explore the phenomenological, existential, and post-structural aspects of the psychoanalytical works of Kierkegaard, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Marcel, Levinas, Bachelard, Buytenkijk, Lacan , Schutz, Derrida  and Foucault. Some of the psychoanalysts whose works are to be studied include Binswanger, Boss, Straus, van den Berg, Laing, von Gebasattel, Minkowski, Frankl, May, and Van Kaam. The topics covered would be phenomenological reductions and methods, intentionality, the life world, intersubjectivity, Dasein, Difference, Dissemination, the hermeneutic circle, spatiality, sociality, temporality, freedom, the body-subject, pracktognosia, praxis and process, and metabletics. Psychological topics may include perception, emotion, imagination, behavior, development, language, thought, relations with others, the surrounding environment, physiology, dreams, family structure, the self, and psychopathology. Some attention would also be devoted to the practice of assessment and therapy.


Bachelard, G. (1938). Psychoanalysis of fire. (trans. Alan C.M. Ross) Boston, Beacon Press, 1964.

Boss, M. (1963). Daseinsanalysis and psychoanalysis. (trans. Ludwig B. Lefebre). New York: DeCapo Press, 1982. 

Foucault, M. (1961) Madness & civilization: A history of madness in the age of reason (trans. Richard Howard) New York: Random House, 1965. 

Heidegger, M. (1927). Being and time (J. MacQuarrie & E. Robinson, Trans.). New York: Harper & Row, (1962). 

Hoeller, K (Ed),  Readings in Existential Psychiatry and Psychiatry. Seattle, WA: Review, 1990. 

Husserl, E.  Phenomenological psychology: Lectures, summer semester, 1925. (J. Scanlon, Trans.). Boston: Martinus Nijhoff, 1977. (Original work published 1962) 

Laing, R. D.  Sanity, madness, and the family; Families of schizophrenics. New York: Basic Books, 1964. 

Levinas, E.  Totality and Infinity: A study in exteriority. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press, 1969. 

Marcel, G.,  Being & Having: An existentialist diary. New York: Harper & Row, 1965. 

May, R., Angel, E., & Ellenberger, H.F. (Eds.). Existence: A New Dimension in Psychiatry and Psychology. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1958.