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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I practice existential therapy by focusing on areas of your life in which you can promote a greater sense of meaning and purpose, interpersonal connection, freedom, and fearlessness. I embrace the discomfort of not knowing the answer to all of life's questions, and strive to help my clients ease their anxiety about the great unknowns. Realizing that life's decisions can not always be put into boxes of "right" or "wrong" helps clients become more confident and assertive about making choices.

— Mary Mills, Counselor in Seattle, WA

What do staying in a bad relationship, struggles with indecisiveness, and getting impatient in traffic have in common? They are all manifestations of our awareness that we will someday die. When you look directly at the idea that time is a limited resource, it helps you leave bad situations, make choices more easily, and find a calmer demeanor when you can't control things. Through existential therapy, we figure out what you want from your life, and set boundaries around everything else.

— Jennie Steinberg, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Studio City, CA
 

When we talk about "general therapy" I tend to align most strongly as an existentialist. This means a core belief that we are all free agents in the world, doing our best to navigate impossible circumstances. I view "the world" as both helpful and harmful in that we will be simultaneously empowered and oppressed (in different degrees for different people). Ultimately, contentment comes through a sense of self-efficacy in one's own life and from making meaning out of your experiences.

— Sean Glynn, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

I believe that key aspects of existential therapy such as guilt, anxiety, responsibility, meaning, and death are important to not ignore. I also believe that these principles can guide people when they appear to be "stuck" on something, and can appropriately challenge thinking patterns to create long lasting positive changes.

— Jorge Flores, Licensed Professional Counselor in Denver, CO
 

Especially in this political and social climate, anxiety, dread, and depression can be attributed to the human condition; that is, being a human in this deeply imperfect world is bound to bring with it anxieties, worries, and a sense of loneliness sometimes. Viewing it as a normal, although unpleasant, part of life can help to shift the narrative from pathology, to a temporary feeling that we can use to explore these emotions and how they impact us globally.

— PSYCHe PLLC, Psychologist in Nashville, TN

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
 

Let's explore the human condition and what it means to you. I take a strength based approach that increases self-awareness, accountability and quality of life.

— Sara Lowery, Psychotherapist in Marion, NC

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
 

Through my work, existential therapy allows me to understand how your way-of-being in the world and any experienced stuckness.

— Notae Eddo, Associate Professional Clinical 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
 

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

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
 

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

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
 

Existential Therapy focuses on free will, self-determination, and the search for meaning. This approach often centers on you rather than on the symptom you are experiencing. The approach emphasizes your capacity to make rational choices and to develop to your maximum potential.

— Cheryl Perry, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Charlotte, NC

People are the only creatures on earth who are truly aware of their existence, which is a benefit and a burden. Setting time aside to look at our meaning and purpose is never wasted. This sort of work is why I am a believer in not setting artificial limits for time spent in therapy, since all of us are evolving, hopefully for the better.

— Gilbert Bliss, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Hunt Valley, MD
 

Existential-humanistic therapy seeks to create a therapeutic relationship and environment that fosters deepening awareness of oneself, including issues of meaning, choice, 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

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