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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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.

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

I hold the question "what are you doing here?" both in my office and on the earth as we meet keeping in mind whether you are living out your purpose. There are four "givens" of existence that e must grapple with: Death - it can be terrifying or freeing/motivating Isolation - we are born for/die for only ourselves Freedom - we have the freedom /responsibility for our life Meaning - we are meaning-making beings Sometimes symptoms point us to larger questions and we need help working through them.

— Addie Michlitsch, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Roseville, 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

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

This is where my formal training is - existential phenomenology. I realize that every human faces huge questions: life, death, relationship, meaning. The anxiety that moves us toward or away from finding meaning can be a great gift when harnessed, but can also paralyze us and lead toward a feeling of stagnancy. I do not consider existentialism as an intervention, necessarily, but it is a frame that underlies all of the work that we do together.

— Chris Perry, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

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

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

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 completed my training in cancer and chronic illness with existential therapy and CBT being the primary modalities utilized in treatment and recovery.

— Jill Gray, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in St. Petersburg, FL

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

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

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.

— PSYCHē PLLC, Psychologist in Nashville, TN

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 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 in Portland, OR

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

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

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms- to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” This quote by Viktor Frankl changed my life. I was in the middle of my own therapy journey and needed a lifeline. This was it: permission to choose my own way, no matter how hard the situation. Existential therapy is all about finding meaning in your experiences, and giving you back the power to create change in your life.

— Katie Bautch, Psychologist in Sacramento, CA