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(2014) Karl Jaspers' philosophy and psychopathology, Dordrecht, Springer.

Jaspers concept of "limit situation"

extensions and therapeutic applications

Christoph Mundt

pp. 169-178

This chapter starts with differentiating the methodological approaches of life events versus limit situations in the sense of Jaspers and differences of the ensuing results. The former is based on the third-person perspective, and the latter on the first-person perspective. Jaspers' four, later five, limit situations are defined and their possible impact on existence and life course is exemplified. Developmental versus destructive impacts of limit situations are distinguished. Detrimental forms of auto-protection against limit situations by retreat from developmental challenges in crises are described. The section on psychotherapeutic applications of limit situations implies a turn from a static to a dynamic conception of limit situations. Transitional passages of the resolution of limit situations under guidance of psychotherapy are discussed. Differences between limit situations, life-threatening natural catastrophes, and man-made torture as well as the differentiation of their developmental versus destructive impact on the personality are pointed out. "Soft limit situations" as probe developmental steps are described, as well as the consequences of a lack of limit situations as a possible impediment for maturation of the personality. Finally it is discussed whether there is a need to complement the list of Jaspers' limit situations.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-8878-1_11

Full citation:

Mundt, C. (2014)., Jaspers concept of "limit situation": extensions and therapeutic applications, in T. Fuchs, T. Breyer & C. Mundt (eds.), Karl Jaspers' philosophy and psychopathology, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 169-178.

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