Belgian Center and School for Existential Analysis

Psychotherapy- Training : a space for encounter, analysis and meditation on being-in-the-world.

Psychotherapy is a science and an art, a discipline dealing essentially with human beings at the level of their richness and complexity. It is an « existential commitment », a meeting that opens the way to a common destiny : freeing one of the constraints upon one’s possibilities to be. This is really one of the pecularities of mankind : its ability to unfold its own being. From all beings, man is ontologically different. This difference needs to be thought about. Within the philosophical tradition, Martin Heidegger stands out as one who constantly tried to unfold being. His attitude was to question being, our existence, presence, while translating it all into one word : Dasein. Through this usage, the word Dasein lost its trivial meaning of « being there » and became essentially a synonym for human being in its manifold aspects. The lifelong work of Heidegger resulted in the analysis of Dasein in his masterpiece : Being and Time.

Existential analysis — or, in its German expression Daseinsanalyse — was founded in the forties by a contemporary and friend of Freud : Ludwig Binswanger. This new therapeutic approach questions and combines three fundamental disciplines : Freud’s psychoanalysis, Husserl’s phenomenology, and Heidegger’s analysis of Dasein. Existential analysis is nevertheless different from psychoanalysis. It is primarily interested in the patient’s way of being-in-the-world. The therapist perceives the patient in his possibilities of being there. All human suffering alters one’s being-in-the-world. Therefore the therapist can put himself into the realm of presence of his patient and grasp the reality in which he or she lives and, most importantly, how he or she lives it. The existential therapist is interested in the fundamental elements of the human being (its existentials) : its spatiality, temporality, body, its way of being with others in a common world, its mood, history, its being towards death and the setting free of all that allows it to exist. The existential analyst always tries to go to the essence of perceptions and in doing so he is practicing phenomenological reduction. The therapist tries to set aside his own prejudices and to get to the essence, the fundamental way of being of his patient. Existential anlysis is a verbal therapy that always tries to grasp the meaning beyond words. The therapist turns to the lived world, the lived experience that indicates the meaning of the word. He constantly goes towards the phenomenon as it is presented in its immanent and implicit configuration. He doesn’t make use of any metapsychology, but always of lived experience.

This school offers an analytic therapy of the long type (3 years), which is verbal and atmospheric. In every word rests a surplus that remains unexpressed. This extra goes further than the real fact, and this is what we call atmospheric. The atmospheric is the protective cover of being, selfconfidence and personnal development. The atmospheric pre-understanding is the ground of every meeting with anyone or anything.

Existential analysis sees every suffering as a deprival of freedom, as an impossibility to exist. Our therapeutic technique is the word or logos and we are always in search for the right binding between word and being. The therapy is conceived in a way the patient will experience his words with all his being. The right words rise from dialogue and are an answer to a silent call. Through this way we introduce the feeling of inter-subjective communication.

We also use a technique that alters consciousness, mainly Eriksonian hypnotherapy. This psychotherapy is adapted to anyone who wants to undertake an analysis or, in other words, who wants to be freed from something that he has maybe not yet identified. When the world has become closed, psychotherapy allows the patient to open a new horizon and, in doing so, to (re)become the receiver and actor of every new event, however unpredictable it may be. Existential analysis enables the possibility of meeting, the being with others. Existential analysis invites human being to be itself in all its existentials, in discovering every aspect of relating to its existence.