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Heidegger
Called by no less a thinker than Hannah Arendt 'the secret king of thought', the German philosopher Martin Heidegger has strongly influenced psychodynamic psychotherapy.


A difficult and enigmatic personality, his seminal thought has had a huge influence on other philosophers, artists, writers, and specialists in fields as disparate as sociology and physics.

He undertook to re-think the core question of philosophy, first expressed by Leibnitz, "Why is there something rather than Nothing?"

In his magnum opus Being and Time he explored the plight of each individual as a vulnerable being caught between life and death, and having to make a choice about his authentic individual "beingness".

Each of us has to to determine his own essence through the choices to be made while we live.

Until we can determine this "beingness" we are racked by Angst, a word that decribes the particular modern mood of unsettled fear and doubt that is prevalent in current industrial and post-industrial societies.

He broke new ground with his assertion that all thought is made through language. Language cannot be static and meanings must reside in their users, or no authentic, real or new thoughts would be possible. Consequently, the ability to relate to others requires that we consider both words and meanings poetically.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy has benefited from some of his thoughts. The most significant impact of Heidegger on psychoanalysis has been expressed in the work of Jacques Lacan and Heinz Loewald.
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