Existential psychotherapy | E Therapy

Existential psychotherapy

This therapy is to enable clients to find their place in the world through exploring the philosophical themes of liberty, choice, accountability and courage.

The basic tenets in existential therapy are that it assumes healthy human experience is open, flowing and has a capacity for great change. When this is not healthy then the person struggles with the idea that human beings are always in a state of flux and there is no solid personality as such - this impermanence leads to anxiety or angst. Also as there is no fixed goal and we know we will have to die one day, the person struggles with the point of life, especially as that only comes when the person takes responsibility for the way they are feeling.

This therapy does not look for discrete labels to use on individuals rather it looks to universal truths to enable the client. There is no existential theory of therapy, but a set of philosophical ideas are used by the therapist instead.

There are four elements the existential therapist will work with a client on:

  • The physical dimension is about relating to the body, health and environmental factors including diverse elements such as weather through to possessions. The struggle here is about trying to control the natural world, it’s limitations and boundaries, for example to prevent aging.
  • The spiritual dimension is about relating to the unseen: some people call this God or the Universe and for others it is about making sense of life. This element is about enabling the client to come to their own conclusion about the value of their existence.
  • The Psychological dimension is about relating to oneself and being able to give up a sense of self-importance and be fully open to the experience of life without making negative judgements on themselves.
  • The social dimension is about relating publically – to others and also coming to terms that we are also alone.

Contradictions occur in each of these dimensions due to the temporary nature of everything, so the therapist’s role is to help the client to learn to accept inner authority and being authentic in an impermanent world.

This therapy suits adults.