Existential Therapy

Existential therapy, created out of the existential philosophy tradition, is a treatment orientation based that focuses on the human condition as a whole. One of the primary goals of existential therapy is to help clients face life and its anxieties head on and to embrace the freedom of choice humans have, taking full responsibility for their choices as they do so. Therapists trained in existential therapy believe that unhealthy or undesirable behaviors result from an inhibited ability to make authentic, self-directed choices about how to live. Therefore, in therapy, an existential counselor will work with you to focus on your own responsibility and freedom. You will be challenged to think and behave responsibly by confronting internal thoughts, rather than outside pressures. Existential therapy seeks to help clients live more authentically, to be focused on the present (not the past), to be less concerned with superficiality and to find meaning in their lives. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s existential therapy specialists today.

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Meet the specialists

 

I offer existential psychotherapy. Understanding your past and how it effects your present allows you to slowly bring change to your current world.

— Amanda Summers, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Vallejo, CA

We're all going to die. (Yeah, I know). No but like, really. We are. At one point we didn't exist and at some point we will again not exist. In the meantime, what do we do with that? Is it motivating? Paralyzing? Somewhere in the middle? Let's go there. Let's dive in.

— Tamara Statz, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Saint Paul, MN
 

What is it all for? Existential therapy tackles the deep, powerful questions that reside in each of us, to unlock the purpose and meaning that defines our life. Often feelings of sadness, loneliness, "stuck"ness & fear come from a place of living out of alignment with what we truly want and desire. Human concerns such as mortality, responsibility & freedom also impact how we move through the world, and existential therapy aims to explore these powerful concerns to unlock a happier life.

— Hope Tola, MA, NCC, LPCC, Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate in Boulder, CO

The existential components of my therapeutic approach involve facilitating self-exploration of how each client understands the world around them and their place in it, allowing them to identify what it looks like to them to live meaningfully and intentionally.

— Kate Upton, Licensed Professional Counselor in Atlanta, GA
 

Existential theory suggests that we are all working to grapple with the knowledge that one day, we will die. How we integrate this knowledge impacts the ways that we give meaning to our experiences and the world around us , connect to others, and often feel a pull towards both responsibility and freedom. Existential therapy gives clients the chance to explore how the "big questions" of life are shaping their experiences and behaviors while supporting them to more skillfully live in paradox.

— Ben Hearn, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Allison Park, PA

Do you ever feel unsure of your purpose, or that you struggle with being true to yourself and the life you want to live? Existential psychotherapy explores the fundamental questions of human existence, such as the meaning of life, freedom, responsibility, and the mysteries of the unknown. By embracing these existential concerns together, this approach helps you feel empowered to confront your own unique existence, find purpose, and live more authentically.

— Alese Bennett, Post-Doctoral Fellow
 

Underneath it all I see myself as a human- one who struggles and has struggled with the same fears that all humans have struggled with- mortality, isolation, our freedom to make choices, and our ultimate meaninglessness in a universe that is indifferent. I believe then that it is critical as a therapist to support people in finding their own meaning and purpose; and that they can trust themselves to make that decision.

— Morgan Flagg, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in South Burlington, VT

Contributes to spiritual integration, aiding in understanding, building, and repairing your unique frameworks of self. Sometimes in life we experience events such as death, loss, life disruption, and other events that fundamentally disturb our sense of self. Our sense of self is the foundation of who we are, and when it becomes disturbed, it can create a host of cognitive and somatic issues. We want to feel whole, and when we feel broken, at our core, existential Therapy helps us to rebuild.

— Dan Gilner, Associate Professional Counselor
 

I believe that each person has the power to determine what has meaning in their life. What we give meaning to is often what dictates how we feel and how we live. We must also find ways to accept ourselves as individuals rather than waiting for others to accept us. We can work together to help you identify what you want to give meaning to your life and to accept who you are at this moment.

— Ashton Burdick, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Cleveland, NC

At the core of human experience are fundamental questions about responsibility, freedom, life and death, and meaning. My approach connects client experiences to these questions.

— Seth Stewart, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA
 

In my philosophical counseling practice, I draw on existential thinkers like Nietzsche, Sartre, De Beauvoir, Buber, Frankl to help clients to work through different versions of the "existential crisis." Together we work through the loss of meaning brought on by an experience of disillusionment, the loss of self brought on by various identity crises, and the loss of freedom and authenticity brought on by experiences of alienation, objectification, oppression or "bad faith".

— Monica Vilhauer, Counselor in Portland, OR

I believe we as humans strive to find meaning in our lives in everything we do and in every interaction we have. We need meaningful relationships, work and social activities in order to be healthy and when we don’t have meaning we become unhappy, overwhelmed, depressed or addicted. In addition to my existentialist toolkit, I have many other therapeutic tools I can use to help clients achieve their mental health goals. I tailor my style on my client’s needs and interpersonal styles.

— Wyatt Okeefe, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Portland, OR
 

We are free beings to choose as we see fit and create meaning out of those experiences that fulfills and enriches us. Yet, too many times we allow our perceptions to be shaped by biased meaning projected upon us and not authentic to our true self. What you have been through was not to diminish you. It was to equip you to receive more out of life.

— Sheldon Kay, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Duluth, GA

My first love was philosophy. I believe that we all struggle with the existential conundrums of the human condition, whether we know it or not, and one or more of them is behind all mental and emotional angst.

— Leif Moa-Anderson, Mental Health Counselor in Portland, OR
 

I have a background in existential philosophy and psychology. Discovering deeper meaning by confronting the difficult questions that arise from the unique nature of the human condition. What does it mean to be alive? How do my choices define me? How can I live a life committed to action and purpose? How can I embrace my failures and celebrate my success?

— Michael Ianello, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

I hold a Master of Arts degree in existential-phenomenological psychology from Seattle University and bring this background to my work with clients. An existential approach provides us with space to consider the underlying questions of life, to make meaning of our experiences, and to seek a greater sense of purpose and direction. We honor and strengthen your inherent capacity to make choices that enrich your experience of your individuality, your connections with others, and your endeavors.

— Emily West, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Kirkland, WA
 

"What is the meaning of life?" is an eternally joked about question, but when we do not have our own personal answer to this question it often leads to mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, and interpersonal conflict. I support clients to ask the deep questions, seek and understand their core values, and find meaning in their life as a way to reduce negative symptoms and bring about positive mental health.

— eric bjorlin, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Evanston, IL