Personal Stories and Psychotherapy

  • Giampiero Arciero
  • Guido Bondolfi
  • Viridiana Mazzola


The phenomenological psychology and psychotherapy, which cannot access the meaning of experience through reflective objectification, must do so by grasping it in its enactment: by grasping the taking shape of lived experience in relation to this or that circumstance, as it actually occurs in everyday life—in different ways for different people. The specifying of what method guides us in grasping the way in which each person prereflectively experiences this or that situation is the cornerstone of this chapter. In the footsteps of Heidegger’s phenomenology, we have referred to this method as formal indication. In order to account for the incompleteness of each person’s being-there, this indication focuses on the intentional involvement without specifying any content. This method, which accompanies the taking shape of other people’s experience of this or that, enables us to study the way in which ipseity relates to the world in different situations, in a way that carries different meanings for different people. The analysis of a clinical case helps further explicate the new method.


Formal indication Unappropriated narratives Therapist as re-enactor 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giampiero Arciero
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guido Bondolfi
    • 2
  • Viridiana Mazzola
    • 3
  1. 1.IPRARomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity Hospital of Geneva, Department of PsychiatryGenèveSwitzerland
  3. 3.Liaison Psychiatry, Department of PsychiatryUniversity Hospital of Geneva, Department of PsychiatryGenèveSwitzerland

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