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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Where do you find meaning? What is important to you? What does happiness look like to you? Who or what are you living for? The idea that only we can define or determine our own purpose and path is daunting and overwhelming, but can also be liberating and life-affirming.

— Nathan Robbel, Therapist in Chicago, IL

I offer support for the anxieties that occur when a person confronts the inherent conflicts of life. I find it helpful to weave a deep humanistic approach along in with existential exploration.

— Candis Zimmerman, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in , TX

Existential therapy provides clients with a mirror with which to see how they are in the world, as well as building a strong therapeutic relationship based on authenticity, genuineness, and empathy that helps clients to better understand themselves and their world.

— Greyson Smith, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Colorado Springs, CO

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

John secondly operates from an existential approach in which reality is viewed as subjective and the focus is on liberating the client psychologically by helping them find their strength to take on responsibilities. Additional focus is put on healthy connection with others, establishing meaning and purpose in life, and coping with anxiety.

— John Amundson, Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, TX

I have been interested in the meaning of life since I first read Man's Search For Meaning 30 years ago. As a cancer patient, I have had a lot of time to consider my own purpose, and I think most people at some point (or many points) in their lives have moments where they contemplate what this all means. I love helping my clients explore the existential concerns of death, freedom, isolation, and meaning.

— Brandie Sellers, Licensed Professional Counselor in Timnath, CO

I believe that experiencing both joy and pain is what makes us human. My goal when sitting with you is not to "fix" you or to change the ways in which you show up as a human, but to embrace what makes you, "you". Themes like choice, freedom, purpose often come up in my sessions; I am interested in helping you figure out whether what you are doing is truly what you want to do with your life.

— Nancy Juscamaita, Licensed Mental Health Counselor

An existential approach to therapy emphasizes the importance of the meaning that each person makes in life and that the path that one takes can only be understood in the context of their unique life experience. This means that the questions, "Who am I?" and "What is the meaning of life" is a personal journey that, ultimately, only the individual can discover for themselves.

— Matthew Beeble, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Vancouver, WA

Existential therapy can sound scary and abstract, but really, it's all about each individual identifying values and importance in their lives, and letting those values and important things be *enough.* I have found existential therapy incredibly effective within the context of capitalism, white supremacy culture and any/all other socially-imposed values systems.

— Hannah Croft, Clinical Social Worker in Denver, CO

Existential psychotherapy is deeply life affirming and is rooted in the belief that change is always possible. It is aimed to assist with issues that arise from being human—or, simply “existing”, to which no one is immune. Goals include to increase self-awareness, take responsibility of life, relate better to others, self-acceptance, and to live authentically. Existential therapists are curious, genuine and conversational. Therapeutic work includes dialogue, creativity, dream work and more.

— Lauren Hunter, Psychotherapist in New Orleans, LA

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

Our therapists are experienced in existential therapy, humanistic therapy and other holistic therapies incorporating several modalities into their individual practices.

— Natalie Buchwald, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Garden City, NY

When clients first begin therapy, one of the questions that often comes up is what it means to work through emotions or traumas. From the perspective of Existential Therapy, we address the meaning that these experiences hold for you, which comes from our ability to build context foresight around them. If the past still hurts, or if the future holds too many mysteries, it is worth exploring the meaning that we derive from our life's story as a whole.

— Evan Powers, Mental Health Counselor in Loveland, CO

Living is not for the faint of heart. To seek meaning and actively engage with an exploration of individual and collective humanity is a shifting lifelong journey. Existential therapy wrestles with matters of life and death, and what it means to you to be a human being with all the attendant pain, sorrow, joy, and questioning.

— Polly Harrison, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

Let's look for the meaning of what you have experienced along with how you think and feel.

— Lori Lee Staton, BS, MA, (pre)LPC/MHSP, Counselor in Cookeville, TN

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

Existential therapy, primarily developed by Irvin Yalom, M.D., is an orientation that I believe should be a part of every therapist's wisdom and perspective.

— Robert Odell, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Seattle, WA

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 Fallon Upton, Associate Professional Counselor in Marietta, GA