From a humanistic and existential perspective, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be understood as a normal response to a threatening existential event. The humanistic-existential approach to understanding and treating PTSD also places particular emphasis on the meaning of the traumatic experience and on the awareness of the existential part of the self. Such an understanding conveys to a different approach to trauma assessment and potential for healing in the clinical encounter. In this chapter, we wish to provide a humanistic-existential understanding of trauma. To do so, we review the key humanistic-existential concepts for trauma conceptualization, assessment, and intervention. Afterwards, we present two different short case studies to illustrate and understand the humanistic-existential psychotherapeutic process and its diversity. In conclusion, we discuss the contribution and limits of a humanistic-existential approach to trauma conceptualization, assessment, and healing.
Part of the book: A Multidimensional Approach to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder