Existential Dissonance: A Dimension of Inauthenticity

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Peter Buirski, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jennifer Cornish

Third Advisor

Charles Kentnor


Existential, Dissonance, Authenticity, Inauthenticity


This paper will initially review integral concepts found within Heidegger’s understanding of existence or being - namely the dialectic between authentic and inauthentic living, and by extension, existential guilt, anxiety, and regret. Next, I will discuss a particular dimension of inauthenticity found at the intersection of existential guilt and regret, termed existential dissonance. This term, adapted from Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance will serve to illuminate several clinical phenomena. To ground this concept further, I will provide two case examples that further express and clarify this concept.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


15 pages

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