Books and Articles on the Philosophical Background of Existential and Philosophical Counselling

While my own interest in existential and philosophical counselling derives more from my experience with analytic philosophy and with the philosophy of Taoism and other Eastern approaches, this section includes a few of the more standard (and primarily Continental) works in existentialism and phenomenology which are usually cited as the philosophical underpinnings of existential counselling.

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Theory and Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Philosophical Background

Buber, M. (1923/1984) I and Thou. 1984 edition translated by R.G. Smith. Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark. [Amazon UK-hardcover | Amazon UK-paperback | Amazon US-hardcover | Amazon US-paperback]

Here, Buber introduces his hugely influential distinction between two basic forms of human relating, suggesting that we create a different self according to the way in which we relate to the world. The idea has had a strong impact on thinking within counselling and psychotherapy and features in Buber's dialogue with Carl Rogers in Kirschenbaum and Henderson (1990b).

Frankl, V.E. (1967) Psychotherapy and Existentialism. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Frankl, V.E. (1984) Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy, Third Edition. New York, New York: Washington Square Press. [Amazon UK-hardcover | Amazon UK-paperback | Amazon US-hardcover | Amazon US-paperback]

Heidegger, M. (1927/1962) Being and Time. 1962 edition translated by J. Macquarrie and E.S. Robinson. London: Harper & Row. [Amazon UK-hardcover | Amazon UK-paperback | Amazon US-hardcover | Amazon US-paperback]

This hugely influential precursor of much of Continental philosophy is best read as the German Sein und Zeit if at all possible. Heidegger's preoccupation with the German language really set the 'philosophy as obscurity' train in motion for Continental philosophy.

Kierkegaard, S. (1944/1944) The Concept of Dread. 1944 edition translated by W. Lowrie. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

May, R. (1950) The Meaning of Anxiety. New York: Norton. [Amazon UK | Amazon US]

Sartre, J-P. (1943/1956) Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology. 1956 edition translated by H. Barnes. New York: Philosophical Library. [Amazon UK | Amazon US-hardcover | Amazon US-paperback]

Sartre, J-P. (1946/1948) Existentialism and Humanism. 1948 edition translated by P. Mairet. London: Methuen. [Amazon UK | Amazon US]

Tillich, P. (1952) The Courage to Be. New Haven: Yale University Press. [Amazon UK-hardcover | Amazon UK-paperback | Amazon US-hardcover | Amazon US-paperback]


This page was last reviewed by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Thursday, 14 October 2021.