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.

Need help finding the right therapist?
Find Your Match

Meet the specialists

Existentialism tries to answer the questions about death, meaning, responsibility and freedom. In therapy, I will ask you questions and give you tools to help you find your own answers to these questions. I believe that you get to decide what the meaning of your own life is, what you want to do with your own freedom and responsibility and what you believe happens after we die. These answers are based in your own personal values, which we will uncover when working together.

— Kaylin Zabienski, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in NEWPORT BEACH, 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

Through my formal education I have gained an immense amount of understanding to be able to implement existentialist views in practice. While working for non-profits and religious based organizations, I have learned the importance of us as meaning-making creatures and building that into sessions.

— Kelsey Powell, Therapist in Englewood, CO
 

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

Existential-humanistic therapy is a relational approach that recognizes the importance of creating a therapy environment that helps clients deepen their awareness of themselves. Existential-humanistic therapy also recognizes the importance of addressing issues of freedom and responsibility, meaning, 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
 

Do you know why you're here? Have you found your purpose? Within the model of existential therapy, we will work together to find meaning in your life, in spite of and because of the obstacles that you might face. We get one life, so we better make it count.

— Leah Rockwell, Licensed Professional Counselor in Mercersburg, 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
 

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 Intern

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 am a skeptic at heart and love to wonder about the big questions in life such as the search for meaning in our lives. The journey through these questions and associated life transitions is a fascinating part of our lives.

— Jaime Davila, Counselor in Lafayette, CO

We all want a life free of suffering and full of happiness. Explore with the client how achieve this goal.

— Stefan Dombrowski, Psychologist in Mt. Laurel, NJ
 

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

Existentialism tries to answer the questions about death, meaning, responsibility and freedom. These answers are based in your own personal values, which we will uncover when working together. In therapy, I will ask you questions and give you tools to help you find your own answers to these questions. I believe that you get to decide what the meaning of your own life is, what you want to do with your own freedom and responsibility and what you believe happens after we die.

— Kaylin Zabienski, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in NEWPORT BEACH, CA
 

The search for happiness is usually frustrating and elusive because happiness is a feeling that comes and goes. If you focus on finding meaning, you are much more likely to succeed. I work with clients to discern their own values and help them adhere to those values. Life as a human being is inherently limited, and it is hard to accept those limits; however, choosing from among the available options helps you feel more in charge of your own life.

— Joanna Morse, Psychologist in Louisville, KY

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
 

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 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
 

Living is not for the faint of heart. To seek meaning and actively engage with an exploration of individual and collective humanity is a shifting lifelong journey. Existential therapy wrestles with matters of life and death, and what it means to you to be a human being with all the attendant pain, sorrow, joy, and questioning.

— Polly Harrison, Marriage and Family Therapist Associate in Portland, OR

I use tenets of Gestalt and Existential therapy in my work, as I believe that we all gravitate naturally towards self-determination and holistic congruence. Self-examination and self-awareness are key steps for this - supported in therapy. I use tenets of Gestalt therapy in association with existential therapy: such as immediacy, the therapeutic relationship, and individual responsibility.

— Neil Panchmatia, Counselor in Portland, OR