Below is a selection of key works that introduce key ideas from the existential and phenomenological traditions of psychology. These works emphasize the application of this philosophical body of reflection to therapy. A longer list, organized by sections, follows.
Barrett, W. (1978). The illusion of technique. New York: Anchor. (Describes a search for meaning in a technological civilization, moving from technique, through being, toward freedom)
Barrett, W. (1958). Irrational man. New York: Anchor. (Situates existential philosophy in a historical and cultural context)
Frankl, V. (1971). Man’s search for meaning. New York: Pocket Books.
Kunz, G. (1998). The paradox of power and weakness: Levinas and an alternative paradigm for psychology. Albany, New York: SUNY.
May, R. (1983). The discovery of being. New York: Norton.
May, R. (1979). The meaning of anxiety. (2nd Ed). New York: W.W. Norton.
Rogers, C. (1951). Client-centered therapy: Its current practice, implications and theory. London: Constable.
Rogers, C. (1961). On becoming a person: A therapist's view of psychotherapy. London: Constable.
Valle, R. S. & Halling, S. (1989). Existential-phenomenological perspectives in psychology. New York: Plenum. (Offers a readable selection of articles on a variety of issues in phenomenological psychology).
Van den Berg, J. H. (1972). A different existence. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press. (An excellent introduction to the phenomenological approach to “psychopathology”).
Yalom, I. D. (1980). Existential psychotherapy. New York: Ballantine Books.
Yalom, I. D. (2001). The gift of therapy: An open letter to a new generation of therapists and their patients. New York: Harper Perennial.
The following is a more comprehensive list of authors and their works important to the existential and phenomenological traditions in psychology. The marked items (*) are readings that give an overview of Existential Phenomenology. The items marked (**) are frequently used as texts in courses.
Other Introductions to Existential-Phenomenological Thought:
Becker, C.S. (1992). Living and relating: An introduction to phenomenology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
Friedman, M. (Ed.) (1973). The worlds of existentialism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Gantt, E. and Williams, R. editors (2002). Psychology for the other: Levinas and the practice of psychology. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.
Giorgi, A. (1970). Psychology as a human science, a phenomenologically based approach. New York: Harper & Row. (Historical development of Psychology as a natural and as a human science).
Giorgi, A. et al (Eds). (1971; 1975; 1979; 1983). Duquesne studies in phenomenological psychology, Vols. I – IV. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press.
May, R. (1967). Psychology and the human dilemma. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand.
Moran, D. (2000). Introduction to Phenomenology. London: Routledge
Spinelli, E. (1989). The interpreted world: An Introduction to phenomenological psychology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Stewart, D. & Mickunas, A. (1990) Exploring phenomenology: A guide to the field and its literature. (2nd ed.) Athens, OH: Ohio University Press.
Classic Texts in Existential and Phenomenological Philosophy:
Boss, M. (1982). Psychoanalysis and Daseinsanalyse. New York: De Capo.
Buber, M. (1958). I and thou. (2nd Ed.) New York: Scribner & Sons. (Classic work on the spiritual dimensions of interpersonal relations).
Buber, M. (1966). The knowledge of man. New York: Harper Textbooks.
Foucault, M. (1965). Madness and civilization. New York: Random House
**Gadamer, H. (1960/1995) Truth and method. Trans. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald Marshall. New York: Random House.
Husserl, E. (1911/1964). Philosophy as a rigorous science in Lauer, Quentin. Edmund Husserl. Phenomenology and the crisis of philosophy. New York: Harper and Row.
Husserl, E. (1983) Ideas pertaining to a pure phenomenology and to phenomenological philosophy, first book. Trans. F. Kersten. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
**Heidegger, M. (1956/1996). Being and Time. Trans. Joan Stambaugh. Albany: SUNY
Kierkegaard, S. (1962) Works of love. Glochester, MA: Peter Smith.
Kierkegaard, S. (1941). The sickness unto death. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
**Levinas, E. (1985). Ethics and Infinity. Pittsburgh, PA. Duquesne University Press.
Merleau-Ponty, M. (1963). Phenomenology of perception. New York: Humanities Press. (Difficult, but extremely penetrating reflections on human experience).
**Merleau-Ponty, M. (1964). The primacy of perception. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.
Ricoeur, P. (1950/1966). Freedom and nature: The voluntary and the involuntary. Trans. Kohak, E. Chicago: Northwestern University Press
Ricoeur, P. (1970). Freud and philosophy: An essay on interpretation. Trans. Savage, D. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Sartre, J.P. (1956) Being and Nothingness: A phenomenological essay on ontology. Trans. Barnes, H. New York: Washington Square Press.
Scheler, M. (1929/1954). The nature of sympathy. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Van Dusen, W. (1972, 1981). The natural depth in man. New York: Harper & Row.
Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy:
Binswanger, L. (1963). Being-in-the-world. Trans. Needleman, J. New York: Harper and Row.
Bugental, J.F. (1987). The art of the psychotherapist. New York: Norton.
*Cushman, P. (1995). Constructing the self, constructing America: A cultural history of psychotherapy. Redding, MA: Addison Wesley.
Davidson, L. (2003). Living outside mental illness: Qualitative studies of recovery in schizophrenia. New York: New York University Press.
Fierman, L.B. (Ed). (1965) Effective psychotherapy: The contributions of Hellmuth Kaiser. New York: The Free Press. (An implicitly existential interpretation of therapy and neurosis).
Fischer, C.T. (1995). Individualizing psychological assessment. Hillsdale, N.J. Lawrence Erlbaum. (An excellent book on phenomenological assessment).
Friedman, M. (1985).The healing dialogue in psychotherapy. New York: Aronson.
Gantt, E. & Williams, R. (editors). (2002) Psychology for the other. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press.
Gendlin, E.T. (1986) Let your body interpret your dreams. Willmette, IL: Chiron.
Hycner, R. (1991). Between person and person: Toward a dialogical psychotherapy. Highland, NY: The Gestalt Journal.
Kaplan, B. (1965). The inner world of mental illness. New York: Harper & Row. (The best selection of first hand accounts of “mental illness”).
Kopp, S. (1976). If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. New York: Bantam Books.
Laing, R.D. (1969). The divided self. New York: Penguin Books.
Laing, R.D. (1972). The politics of experience. New York: Random House.
**Levinas, E. (1969). Totality and infinity. Pittsburgh, PA. Duquesne University Press.
Rank, O. (1978). Will therapy. New York: Norton.
Richardson, F., Fowers, B., and Guignon, C. (1999). Re-envisioning psychology: Moral dimensions of theory and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Spinelli, E. (1994). Demystifying psychotherapy. London: Constable.
Spinelli, E. (1997) Tales of un-knowing. New York: New York University Press.
Van Kaam (1966). The Art of Existential Counseling: A New Perspective in Psychotherapy. Wilkes-Barre, PA: Dimension Books.
*Wheelis, A. (1974). How people change. New York: Harper & Row.
Explorations of Specific Topics & Qualitative Research:
Agee, J. (1974). Let us now praise famous men. New York: Ballantine Books.
Becker, E. (1973). The denial of death. New York: The Free Press.
Berger, J. (1967). A fortunate man. New York: Pantheon
Camac, P.M., Rhodes, J.E. & Yardley, L. (2003). Qualitative research in psychology: Expanding perspectives in methodology and design. Washington, DC: American Psychology Association.
Coles, R. (1967-1978). Children of crisis. Vols. 1-5. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.
Dahlberg, K., Drew,N. & Nystrom, M. (2001). Reflective lifeworld research. Stockholm: Studentlitteratur.
Egendorf, A. (1985) Healing from the war: Trauma and transformation after the war. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Eisley, L. (1962). The immense journey. New York: Time Inc.
Giorgi, A. (1985). Phenomenology and psychological research. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.
Henry, J. (1965). Culture against man. New York: Random House.
Henry, J. (1973). Pathways to madness. New York: Random House.
James, W. (1961). Varieties of religious experience. New York: Collier Books.
Kafka, F. (1966). Letter to his father. New York: Schocher.
Karlsson, G. (1995). Psychological qualitative research from a phenomenological perspective. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksell International.
Knowles, R.T. (1986). Human development and human possibility: Erikson in the light of Heidegger. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America.
Kuhn, T. (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. Phoenix Books: (Important for understanding Scientism).
Lewis, C.S. (1976). A grief observed. New York: Bantam.
Lifton, R. (1983). The life of the self. New York: Basic Books.
May, R. (1994). The courage to create. New York: W.W. Norton.
*May, R. (1979). The meaning of anxiety. (2nd Ed). New York: W.W. Norton.
Mayeroff, M. (1972). On caring. New York: Harper & Row.
Murray, E.L. (Ed.) (1987). Imagination and phenomenological psychology. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press.
Richards, M.C. (1964). Centering on pottery, poetry, and the person. Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press.
Romanyshyn, R. (1989). Technology as symptom and dream. New York: Routledge.
Rubin, L. (1977). Worlds of pain. New York; Basic Books.
Rubin, L. (1981). Women of a certain age: The midlife search for self. New York: Harper & Row.
Sass, L.A. (1992). Madness and modernism: Insanity in the light of modern art, literature, and thought. New York: Basic Books.
Smith, J.A. (Ed.). (2003) Qualitative research in psychology: A practical guide to research methods. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE.
Valle, R.S. (Ed.). (1998) Phenomenological inquiry in psychology: Existential and transpersonal dimensions. New York: Plenum.
Von Eckhartsberg, R. (1986). Life-world experience: Existential phenomenological research approaches in psychology. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America.
Willig, C. (2001) Introducing quantitative research in psychology. Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press. (A good primer for undergraduates).
Zimmer, H. (1957). The king and the corpse: Tales of the soul’s conquest of evil. Princeton, NJ.
Existentialism in Literature:
Camus, A. (1942/1946). The stranger. Trans. Gilbert, S. New York: Vintage
Camus, A. (1972). The plague. New York: Random House.
Ibsen, H. (1983). Peer Gynt and the wild duck. New York: Hungry Minds Inc.
Sartre, J. P. (1964). Nausea. New York: New Directions.
Tolstoy, L. (1960) The death of Ivan Ilych. New York: New American Library.
Wallant, E.L. (1980). The children at the gate. New York: Harcourt/Brace.
Wallant, E.L. (1973) The tenants of moonbloom. New York: Harcourt/Brace.
Existential, Phenomenological, and Humanistic Journals:
Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
Methods: A Journal for Human Science
Phenomenology and Pedagogy
The Humanistic Psychologist