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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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 work with clients to help them understand how they see the world and to find meaning in their lives and experiences.

— William Hemphill, Licensed Professional Counselor in Decatur, GA

Helping people find a balance and meaning in their human experience is at the core of why I am a therapist. I have practiced existential therapy for the past five years and quite honestly have lived this orientation all of my life. Challenges and issues are part of our experience as humans and can not be viewed as bad or good or black or white. Instead when it is viewed through this gray area it fosters self-awareness that I believe people make the most of their lives.

— ShannonElaine John, Counselor in Fort Morgan, CO

John secondly operates from an existential approach in which reality is viewed as subjective and the focus is on liberating the client psychologically by helping them find their strength to take on responsibilities. Additional focus is put on healthy connection with others, establishing meaning and purpose in life, and coping with anxiety.

— John Amundson, Licensed Professional Counselor 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

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

Let's look for the meaning in what you have experienced along with how you think and feel.

— Lori Lee Staton, BS, MA, (pre)LPC/MHSP, Counselor in Cookeville, TN

I believe that each person has the power to determine what has meaning in their life. What we give meaning to is often what dictates how we feel and how we live. We must also find ways to accept ourselves as individuals rather than waiting for others to accept us. We can work together to help you identify what you want to give meaning to your life and to accept who you are at this moment.

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

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

Let's look for the meaning of what you have experienced along with how you think and feel.

— Lori Lee Staton, BS, MA, (pre)LPC/MHSP, Counselor in Cookeville, TN

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

Existential psychotherapy is deeply life affirming and is rooted in the belief that change is always possible. It is aimed to assist with issues that arise from being human—or, simply “existing”, to which no one is immune. Goals include to increase self-awareness, take responsibility of life, relate better to others, self-acceptance, and to live authentically. Existential therapists are curious, genuine and conversational. Therapeutic work includes dialogue, creativity, dream work and more.

— Lauren Hunter, Psychotherapist in New Orleans, LA

The existential components of my therapeutic approach involve facilitating self-exploration of how each client understands the world around them and their place in it, allowing them to identify what it looks like to them to live meaningfully and intentionally.

— Kate Fallon Upton, Associate Professional Counselor in Marietta, GA

A fan of Abraham Maslow, I view client experience as one that, cultural contexts aside, has universal elements across all people when it comes to issues of purpose and meaning, life, esteem, aging, and death.

— Gregory Gooden, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in POMONA, CA

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

Many of us have experienced the pain of being different in some way. In therapy meeting people person to person and uniting over some of the universal experiences, fears and even needs we have can begin to help us move closer to where we seek to be on our healing journey. While we all experience things through different lenses, we all seek the same things and working to tackle the universal experiences enables us to feel more freedom.

— David Cogdell, Licensed Professional Counselor

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

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