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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Meet the specialists

 

I have been interested in the meaning of life since I first read Man's Search For Meaning 30 years ago. As a cancer patient, I have had a lot of time to consider my own purpose, and I think most people at some point (or many points) in their lives have moments where they contemplate what this all means. I love helping my clients explore the existential concerns of death, freedom, isolation, and meaning.

— Brandie Sellers, Licensed Professional Counselor in Timnath, CO

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
 

Finding meaning, direction, and purpose in life can be some of the greatest sources of anxieties for a person. Existential therapy looks at a person as a whole, in a humanistic context, to look at all the factors affecting a person and how those manifest into anxiety. It centers on deep, introspective discussions to help a person learn how to search for answers to meaning in life, to choose the way they want to live, and help people find connectedness to the world - ultimately reducing anxiety.

— Kate Mageau, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate in Seattle, WA

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
 

Considering the deeper issues of what it means to be human and exist at this time and in this place. Trying to figure out what the heck it's all about anyway. What do I believe? What do I think is BS? What happens when I die? What is death? Why am I here? What is the point of life? Will I make a difference? What matters most?

— Nancy Johnson, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Wellesley Hills, MA

This is a framework I utilize to help explore experiences and increase meaning making (i.e., logotherapy).

— Meli Leilani Devencenzi, Psychologist in Cedar City, UT
 

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

You will find a safe space to explore in your darkest and brightest of hours. For four years, I have had the privilege of walking alongside people on their cancer and grief journeys—from diagnosis to treatment to survivorship and beyond. From them, I have learned how people navigate life within an existential crisis. My own struggles, analysis, training, and growth allow me to be fully present with you.

— Lisa Rainwater, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Winston Salem, NC
 

We are all capable humans with some amount of self-determination in our lives. My belief is that we each create meaning in different ways. Part of my goal is to explore with you how you find meaning in your life and what your narratives about yourself and others are to see where supportive shifts can happen.

— Augustin Kendall, Counselor in Minneapolis, MN

I am very interested in how things are interpreted and what meaning we give to things, events, relationships, and life experiences. I believe everyone is different and are just looking for where they fit in their lives and in the universe. The meaning we give to these things influences how we behave and interact with ourselves and others.

— Lacy Isenburg, Licensed Professional Counselor in Houston, TX
 

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

Existential Therapy focuses on the individual, rather than the symptoms. Existential Therapy explores one’s search for meaning, free will, and self-determination in order to increase self-awareness and self-understanding.

— Shavonne James, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Long Beach, CA
 

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

I work from an Existential-Humanistic lens, meaning that our work together will be phenomenological; I will ask you to be with what is true for you, what you experience, in each present moment. This will be something we practice, and come back to, again and again in our work together.

— Nic Sutherland, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR
 

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 West Lake Hills, TX

Meaning & purpose in life can help us survive the toughest situations. Unfortunately society often describes it as "finding meaning" so we keep hoping it will happen to us, or we are prescribed a purpose/meaning through religion, family, career, identity, etc. that may no longer be a good fit. Existential therapy helps us recognize that we have the power & responsibility to decide what is meaningful to us, create opportunities to nurture it, & re-evaluate it over the course of our life.

— Ashton Burdick, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Cleveland, NC
 

My first love was philosophy. I believe that we all struggle with the existential conundrums of the human condition, whether we know it or not, and one or more of them is behind all mental and emotional angst.

— Leif Moa-Anderson, Mental Health Counselor in Portland, OR

Existentialism is the primary orientation of the training program I attended at Seattle University. Far from an obtuse and abstract domain of dead white men, I feel that existentialism is alive and vital for all of us, acknowledged or more often, unacknowledged. It carries the truth that all of us face (or deny) the common questions of life. Awaking to them can infuse our lives with tremendous purpose and power.

— Phillip Coulson, Therapist in Seattle, WA
 

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