Relating Existentialism to Dharma to Help Traumatic Stress

US Navy 030822 N 3228G 015 Chief petty officer selectees from USS Reuben James %28FFG 57%29 congratulate each other after conquering the leadership reaction coursewiki - Relating Existentialism to Dharma to Help Traumatic Stress

If we accept an existential perspective, we probably also accept the premise that reality is subjective–that everything we perceive comes through the lenses of our experiences and senses, rather than as some ideal Platonic forms.  

In a new essay now available to the New Existentialists’ library, Daniel B. Pitchford and Jeannine A. Davies show how existential themes come together with what they call “relational Dharma filters” to help deal with trauma resolution.  

According to the authors, “Within the context of Relational Dharma, filters refer to the gradient degrees through the mind and heart, while in relationship, sees and feels its own nature.” In trauma, they say, the filters heighten the experience of Being, setting up obstacles that form barriers that tend to inhibit the emergence of the self. 

Pitchford and Davies discuss four different poles of being: (1) meaning versus meaninglessness, (2) freedom versus determinism, (3) isolation versus community, and (4) death versus life anxiety. The authors have combined these aspects of existential philosophy with Relational Dharma in order to create an approach to work in depth with groups of veterans. They say that this approach enables veterans to work to “reconnect to their sense of being” and to develop “a potentially thriving, postwar identity.”

Not only does Pitchford and Davies’ essay give us a fresh understanding of how basic existential principles apply to therapy, and specifically group therapy, but the addition of the Relational Dharma perspective also reminds us of our connection to something greater.

Take a look by downloading it below – or browse other papers in our library.



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Existential Themes and Relational Dharma Filters in the Resolution of Traumatic Stress: A Depth Group Approach

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