Existential Therapy

Existential Therapy

Humanist existentialism follows these values:

  • Freedom (to behave within or outside social norms)
  • Experiential reflection (to discover what one is becoming or reflect on our behaviour)
  • Responsibility (act or respond to what one is becoming or to decide how to behave )

Existential view on Personality:

A persons personality can be described by the characteristics that influence their thoughts, behaviours and motivations. The idea of personality is not as relevant to this type of therapy since people are considered dynamic creatures who change with experience.

The lack of freedom can be due to a failure to accept responsibility or due to lack of awareness of choice. Awareness of freedom is important for wellbeing.

Be aware of:

v  Capacity for Self-Awareness

v  Freedom and Responsibility – making choices and being accountable for those choices

v  Striving for Identity and Relationships to others – not just doing, being alone, being together

v  The search for the meaning – finding value in living a meaningful life

v  Anxiety as a condition of living – courage to face anxiety

v  Awareness of death and non being – a reminder to live our lives full of meaning

This therapy is aimed at:

v  raising a person’s ability to exercise the freedom to make choices

v  Encouraging the client to question and inquire about superficial limitations

v  Helping the client to be present in reality and find what is important to them.

Goals of Existential Therapy:

v  Gain self-awareness

v  Increase the potential choice

v  Have clients take responsibility for choices

v  Have the client experience reality

v  Have the client recognise the things that block freedom from them

v  Accept the freedom and responsibility that go together.

Existential Therapy focuses on:

v  Health rather than sickness

v  Growth

v  Clients immediate experiences

v  Clients becoming aware of their values and develop purpose in life

v  Client looking at what they used to value

v  Help the Client feel alive.

If you have some free time check out Victor Frankl.


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