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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Existential-humanistic therapy is a relational approach that recognizes the importance of creating a therapy environment that helps clients deepen their awareness of themselves. Existential-humanistic therapy also recognizes the importance of addressing issues of freedom and responsibility, meaning, relationships, and working with one's potential and limitations. Rollo May, one of the founders of this approach, noted that the purpose of psychotherapy is to set people free.

— Louis Hoffman, Psychologist in Colorado Springs, CO

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

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

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

I believe that life's struggles and questions have the power to bring meaning and purpose to our existence. I provide a warm, supportive environment to help individuals explore and understand their experiences, feelings and beliefs. My approach integrates elements of existential, humanistic, and psychodynamic theories to help you understand yourself and your place in the world. Let's work together to empower you in your journey towards personal growth and fulfillment.

— Scotty Gilmore, Licensed Professional Counselor in Fort Worth, TX

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

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

It is not easy to discuss meaning making and the concepts of life and death with our social circle or friend group. I am here to provide the space for you to evaluate the human condition, your place within it and what it all means to you.

— Ashley MacLaren, Counselor in Seattle, WA

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

I believe each person is a unique blend of experiences, thoughts, and feelings, therefore it’s important to challenge the outside messages we receive and refocus our views to what we believe to be meaningful. Additionally, living a meaningful life does not mean we are always happy—it means we can accept that there will be struggles and upsets and, in spite of those inevitabilities, we have the capacity to manage the discomfort and embrace the joyful moments as often as we can.

— RANDI WALLER, Licensed Professional Counselor

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

I have worked with a variety of mental health challenges over the years, from complex trauma and severe organic mental illness to anxiety and depression. What I have found is that often the most healing and human experiences come from the meaning that we are able to making of our lives. For any gardeners out there, understanding our suffering through this existential lens is how we can compost our pain and grow beautiful lives in these rich soils.

— Alex Lippincott, Therapist in Wheat Ridge, CO

Existential Therapy focuses on exploring the human experience, including the search for meaning, purpose, and the challenges of existence. This approach helps individuals confront existential concerns and develop self-awareness, personal responsibility, and a greater sense of purpose in life.

— Pamela Duff, Mental Health Counselor in Maitland, FL

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

— Nathan Robbel, Therapist in Chicago, IL

Having a background in philosophy in my undergrad, existentialism was an immediate interest of mine. As I moved through grad school, every free moment was filled with the works of Irvin Yalom and Viktor Frankl. I will sit with you and we together can explore the 4 tenants of existentialism and how the way you interact with them may be affecting your day-to-day life and relationships with others and yourself.

— Audrey Alberthal, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Austin, TX

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