Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Phenomenology and Family Therapy

  • Anthony RoseEmail author
  • Paul Murray
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_949

Name of Theory

Phenomenology and Family Therapy


The term “phenomenology” simply refers to what the word itself suggests: the study of phenomena, or more explicitly, the study of our experience of things (Becker 1992). Brute reality, for all human beings, is existence, being, and consciousness (Smith 2018). This initial state of existence, familiar to all living creatures, is where phenomenology begins.

Prominent Associated Figures

Popularized by German philosopher Edmund Husserl (1859–1938), phenomenology sees human experience as the bedrock of both existence and knowledge: as Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980), a disciple of Husserl, famously asserted, “existence precedes essence.” In other words, for Husserl and Sartre, phenomenology could be seen as an ontological statement, or, more properly, ontology could be seen as phenomenological statement: before we consider abstract concepts, before we form a worldview, before we consciously interact with the world, we exist, and we experience...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Counseling Psychology Doctoral StudentBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.West VancouverCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam R. Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA