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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My approach to counseling centers around identifying the things that matter the most to you and the strengths and abilities you’ve used to survive in this life so far, creating a safe space to look more closely at the difficult areas of life that don’t appear to have easy answers. I see therapy as a healing and creative process, where my training and knowledge act as a mirror to help you unlock your own expertise on yourself.

— Matt McCullough, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern

I want to help clients find and make meaning and purpose in their lives. I am honest with clients about harsh realities of the human experience in the interest of helping clients come to terms with them and become their most authentic and free selves.

— Kirsten Cannon, Counselor in Memphis, TN
 

I am a skeptic at heart and love to wonder about the big questions in life such as the search for meaning in our lives. The journey through these questions and associated life transitions is a fascinating part of our lives.

— Jaime Davila, Counselor in Lafayette, CO

Helping people find a balance and meaning in their human experience is at the core of why I am a therapist. I have practiced existential therapy for the past five years and quite honestly have lived this orientation all of my life. Challenges and issues are part of our experience as humans and can not be viewed as bad or good or black or white. Instead when it is viewed through this gray area it fosters self-awareness that I believe people make the most of their lives.

— ShannonElaine John, Counselor in Fort Morgan, CO
 

My experience and studies in literature paved the way for my current philosophical and therapeutic approach in counseling. It was the influence of French authors like Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus that left a huge mark on my professional development. I would later consolidate their teachings with experts in Psychology, such as Viktor Frankl and his emphasis on the "will to meaning." How we make meaning out of the suffering we endure can be one of the most powerful questions in counseling.

— Dakota Fidram, Associate Professional Counselor in Atlanta, GA

Life is about finding your individual meaning, purpose, and direction. This is the only defense we have against the random horrible things that happen to us. Perhaps the best way to describe this type of therapy is to give you the name of two books to read: "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl and "The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients" by Irvin D. Yalom.

— Greg Custer, Licensed Professional Counselor in Meridian, ID
 

I am naturally oriented toward focusing on the "big" questions in life such as who are we, what are we doing here, and why is there so much suffering in the world. Like many therapists in training, I was inspired by Victor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning" early on and have continued to study this topic. Our beliefs about the meaning and purpose of life impacts every decision we make, whether we are aware of it or not. I empower clients to find answers to these topics that serve them.

— Alexa Barnes, Psychologist

The search for happiness is usually frustrating and elusive because happiness is a feeling that comes and goes. If you focus on finding meaning, you are much more likely to succeed. I work with clients to discern their own values and help them adhere to those values. Life as a human being is inherently limited, and it is hard to accept those limits; however, choosing from among the available options helps you feel more in charge of your own life.

— Joanna Morse, Psychologist in Louisville, KY
 

Existentialism tries to answer the questions about death, meaning, responsibility and freedom. These answers are based in your own personal values, which we will uncover when working together. In therapy, I will ask you questions and give you tools to help you find your own answers to these questions. I believe that you get to decide what the meaning of your own life is, what you want to do with your own freedom and responsibility and what you believe happens after we die.

— Kaylin Zabienski, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in NEWPORT BEACH, CA

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
 

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 strongly believe that examining our lives, our influences, and gaining a clearer understanding of ourselves makes us happier, more balanced individuals. I help my clients look at their beliefs and dig deeply to figure out what is truly important to them and why. Through a conscious examining and choosing, we create a more congruent life that is meaningful, valuable, and satisfying, letting go of those things that don't align with our deepest values, and devoting our time to things that do.

— Melissa Murren, Clinical Psychologist in Valley Village, CA
 

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

Viktor Frankl (psychiatrist and Nazi death camp survivor) created Logotherapy, which focuses on life's meaning as paramount: if we have a "why" in life, nearly any "how" can be endured. For Frankl, lack of meaning is a modern affliction that creates an existential void. We fill this void variously, with anything from addiction to angsty weekend paralysis. Exploring your values, longings and life dreams can help you move closer to your truest self, sense of purpose and fulfillment in life.

— Greta Reitinger, Psychotherapist in Portland, OR
 

A fan of Abraham Maslow, I view client experience as one that, cultural contexts aside, has universal elements across all people when it comes to issues of purpose and meaning, life, esteem, aging, and death.

— Gregory Gooden, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in POMONA, CA

I love working within existential therapy and helping people identify their values and goals in life, and how to live by those. I believe it is important to find purpose and meaning in life that helps us to keep going when times are tough.

— Caley Johnson, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Bellingham, WA
 

Existentialism tries to answer the questions about death, meaning, responsibility and freedom. In therapy, I will ask you questions and give you tools to help you find your own answers to these questions. I believe that you get to decide what the meaning of your own life is, what you want to do with your own freedom and responsibility and what you believe happens after we die. These answers are based in your own personal values, which we will uncover when working together.

— Kaylin Zabienski, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in NEWPORT BEACH, CA

Existential therapy's deepest definition lies within its word origin. Our collective existence and the way we experience the world shapes our daily interactions, moods, thoughts, feelings and beliefs. How we come to understand our shared human experiences can help us improve the way we manage our lives, make positive life changes that we may have been wanting to act on, and learn to relate to the world around us in a new way.

— Kelly Wallace, Licensed Professional Counselor in ,
 

I use tenets of Gestalt and Existential therapy in my work, as I believe that we all gravitate naturally towards self-determination and holistic congruence. Self-examination and self-awareness are key steps for this - supported in therapy. I use tenets of Gestalt therapy in association with existential therapy: such as immediacy, the therapeutic relationship, and individual responsibility.

— Neil Panchmatia, Counselor in Portland, OR