Phenomenological therapy is a philosophical therapy that is firmly based in dialogue. It proceeds through careful description and aims to explore people’s difficulties in living as experienced rather than by referring to psychodiagnostic categories or other theoretical concepts. It seeks to achieve understanding by encouraging a person to set his or her problems against the wider horizon of the human condition. It avoids prescription, interpretation, and explanation and emphasizes description of purpose, meaning, values, conflicts, dilemmas, and paradoxes instead.

Historical Context

Phenomenological therapy is based on the method of phenomenology, which originated with the philosopher Edmund Husserl’s work in the early part of the 20th century. Phenomenology, literally the science of appearances, is a method for systematic description of conscious awareness, which results in grasping what is ...

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