Transformative Life Experience as a Glimpse Into Potentiality

Pninit Russo-Netzer, Jonathan Davidov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many clients cope with the consequences of transformative life experience (TLE) in psychotherapy. TLE often involves a radical, profound reorganization of or change in one’s life because of resulting formative, life-changing choices. Yet the essence of the mechanism people use to process and make sense of a TLE is unclear. This study is a phenomenological exploration of such experiences that aims to offer a heuristic theoretical view of how such change is constructed and played out. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with 120 adults who had coped with the consequences of a TLE. Data analysis was guided by a hermeneutic phenomenology paradigm that postulates that people account for their experience within the four existentials of temporality, spatiality, corporality (embodiment), and relationality. Those lifeworld existentials were utilized as a framework and lens through which to organize the data. This procedure was followed by a hermeneutical interpretation to identify common features of lived experience along all four domains of analysis with the purpose of constructing a conceptual model that illustrates the essence of change during TLE. Implications are considered for utilizing theoretical and applied insights from the model.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Humanistic Psychology
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • change processes
  • phenomenology
  • psychotherapy
  • transformative life experience
  • turning points

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science


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