Author, Sasha Alex Lessin Ph D


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Reflect on your being-in-the-world in terms of the subjective/objective and universal/individual continua (bipolar personality theory) and in terms of field theory, your center, and the hierarchy of levels of consciousness derived from phenomenological reduction. Understand and personalize the existential ideals derived from field theory and reflection:





anxiety and pain


non-being and death

reflection and epoche

inwardness, subjectivity and self-reliance

uniqueness and individuality

eternity and unity consciousness

freedom and guilt

affirmation of life

commitment and cathexis,


encounter and love

flexibility and adaptability

the flowing existential moment and futurity

growth and self-transcendence

polarity, dialectic and contradiction.

I encourage you to collaborate with other students–just note such sharing. Adapt the exercises and experiments to your particular circumstances. Create parallel experiences, where appropriate. If you lack a partner on any exercise calling for one, you may play the role of your own partner, creating a fantasy dialogue.

Respond, mentally, to a partner aloud, or by post your responses to this site to all starred (*) questions, such as the one below.


* In Existential-Phenomenological Psychology, you …. (select correct alternatives.) Answer the question below intuitively, then I’ll let you know what I think.

  1. Take yourself and others as you exist–living, acting, feeling, thinking phenomenon, at this moment in an organic relationship with each other;
  2. Appreciate the shifting constellations of meanings constituting your and others’ bodily experienced reality;
  3. Contact phenomena as you live them out and experience them;
  4. Focus on people in their concrete, meaningful, everyday life experiences;
  5. Recognize the interdependence between your lived-body, the space around you, your actions, your experiences and the organization of your personal world;
  6. Find the meaning of life in your own limited and finite life on earth;
  7. Study the embodied human being in his or her world;
  8. Take into equal and simultaneous consideration (for you and all humanity) yourself what you relate to, and how you and your objects relate;
  9. Explicate the essence, form and structure of human experience and behavior through disciplined reflection and descriptive techniques;
  10. Simultaneously ask yourself, “Who am 1? and What kind of world do I live in? as inseparably bound aspects of your unified personality, body and environment.

Answer: All are correct.


Peter Koestenbaum organizes existential-phenomenological findings into propositions or ideals. [Koestenbaum, P.The New Image of the Person: 1974, pages 39–45.]

When you live these ideals, he writes, your existence is authentic, compassionate, happy and meaningful. Examine your own and your clients’ knowledge and existence, Koestenbaum suggests, in light of these ideals. He provides reflective devices, which I augment for you, to personalize the following ideals.

Realize the reciprocal INTERPLAY between you and what you experience; learn of field theory, intentionality.

Experience yourself at several LEVELS OF CONSCIOUSNESS.

Acknowledge that you are responsible; CHOOSE your attitudes and reactions.

Consciously experience your ever-developing sense of yourself as an individual and as humanity (phenomenologically SELF-DISCLOSE.)

Value PAIN and ANXIETY as opportunities to learn.

Use limits to make your life meaningful; reflect upon NEGATION, FINITUDE and DEATH.

Live and reflect using phenomenological bracketing (EPOCHE)

Be INDEPENDENT, SELF-RELIANT and SUBJECTIVE (to balance out love and commitment.)

Realize your own unique, creative INDIVIDUALITY.

Experience TRANSCENDENTAL SUBJECTIVITY; revere this core self of each and all consciousness.

Realize you are free to CHOOSE your own values and self-concepts.

Accept GUILT for your choices as signals to do better.

Say YES to life. COMMIT yourself. Be REALISTIC.

LOVE and encounter others. Be FLEXIBLE and adaptable.

Experience time living now, using the past, focused on your future.

GROW; expand and transcend your self-definition.

Use contradictions, polarities, paradoxes and ambiguities as opportunities to establish dialogues and DIALECTICS. leading to further growth.


Preparatory Exercise for Confluent Understanding and Retention of the Existential Ideals

Read each of the existential ideals (jbelow) aloud three times in the first person singular (“I”) using the present tense. As you read each, rephrase it (with no further study) in your own words.

I consciously experience the reciprocal interplay between myself and what I experience as I understand and intentionally live with existential field theory.

I experience myself at several levels of consciousness.

I am responsible for choosing my attitudes and reactions.

I consciously experience my ever-developing sense of myself as an individual and an illuminatory channel for humanity and higher unity; I tell myself the truth about myself as I come to know it.

I value my pain and anxiety as my opportunities to learn.

I use my limits to make my life meaningful; I use the fact of my inevitable physical death to vitalize my life.

I both live and reflect on my life.

I am independent, self-reliant and subjective as a balance to my love and commitment.

I am a unique, creative individual.

I revere the consciousness that flows through me and others.

I freely choose my values and accept healthy guilt so I can choose-better.

I cherish and affirm my existence; I say “Yes” to life.

I commit myself to people, principles, goals and a lifestyle.

I am realistic. I authentically encounter and love others. I am flexible and adaptable.

I experience my life at this very moment; I am one in this moment with what I have learned in the past as well as my hopes for the future.

I am continually growing and expanding what I consider myself to be.

I welcome contradictions, opposites, paradoxes and ambiguities as opportunities to establish MY broader understandings and growth.


* Select one or more of the three alternatives below:

  1. I read each ideal aloud three times;
  2. I rephrased the ideals in (some, most, all – (circle one)) cases;
  3. I didn’t read them aloud thrice nor put them into my own words.

* Put a copy of the 19 existential ideals (written in the first-person) on your bathroom mirror and read them aloud every morning, upon arising, until you have completed all the homework for this class.

* Memorize the ideals; recite them daily for the rest of your life, modifying, deleting and adding to them as you do.

Now that you have familiarized yourself with the ideals, proceed to an ideal-by-ideal exploration of the existential model of being in the lessons I post. They and lots more are yours to grow with at…/counseling-lessins-play-perf…


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