The term existential shattering was coined by Tom Greening and initially developed through his teaching and scholarly presentations. The development in the scholarly literature emerged from students and colleagues who began applying and researching the concept (see Hoxie 2013; Vallejos 2015). Existential shattering is the sudden and unexpected dismantling, or shattering, of one’s self-conception and worldview as a consequence of an event or process that the individual has experienced. Existential shattering can be further described as a “devastating, unexpected, irreversible event, a trauma, in which one’s fundamental systems of meaning and relating are irreparably shattered” (Vallejos 2015, p. 6).
Although there is an evident relation with trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), existential shattering should not be reduced to PTSD and, instead, may help distinguish between different types of traumatic reaction (Hoffman et al. 2013). An individual who has experienced...
- Greening, T. (1997). Posttraumatic [sic] stress disorder: An existential-humanistic perspective. In S. Krippner & S. Powers (Eds.), Broken images, broken selves: Dissociative narratives in clinical practice (pp. 125–135). Washington, DC: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
- Hoffman, L., Cleare-Hoffman, H. P., & Vallejos, L. (2013). Existential issues in trauma: Assessment and treatment. In I. A. Serlin (Chair), Developing resiliency: Compassion fatigue and regeneration. Symposium presented at the 121st Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Honolulu.Google Scholar
- Hoxie, E. (2013). The impact of traumatic brain injury from spouses’/partners’ perspectives: Transcending existential shattering (Order No. 3594257). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1442476141).Google Scholar
- Moore, T. (2002). The soul’s religion: Cultivating a profoundly spiritual way of life. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
- Ren, Z., Gao, M., Yang, M., & Qu, W. (2018). Personal transformation process of mental health relief workers in Sichuan earthquake. Journal of Religion and Health. https://doi-org.libproxy.uccs.edu/10.1007/s10943-018-0584-4. Advance online publication.
- Vallejos, L. M. (2015). Shattered: A heuristic self-search inquiry of one mother’s journey to wholeness after a child’s diagnosis of a potentially fatal congenital heart defect (Order No. 3725141). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1732168265).Google Scholar
- van Deurzen, E. (2002). Existential counseling and psychotherapy in practice (2nd ed.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Wong, P. T. P. (2008). Meaning management theory and death acceptance). In A. Tomer, G. Eliason, & P. T. P. Wong (Eds.), Existential and spiritual issues in death attitudes (pp. 65–87). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar