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.

Meet the specialists

 

I have studied Applied Existential Psychotherapy in Boulder, CO and just completed a training with Irvin Yalom. Existential concerns and our search for meaning are oftentimes at the core of the challenges or distress we are facing.

— Cindy Gordon, Licensed Professional Counselor in Longmont, CO
 

Meaning and purpose are central to life's greatest joys and deepest sorrows. Through this lens, I support clients in expanding self awareness while cultivating their sense of both freedom and responsibility. I also intertwine practical applications including career exploration, building quality relationships, and pursuing a 'life worth living' aligned with the individual's unique values. In this way, clients confront the 'big questions and gain ownership over their healing process.

— Stephanie Renny, Counselor in Cincinnati, OH

This is one of the first orientations I fully bought into as a clinician. The four conditions of humanness are hard to unsee when you finally grasp them, and my training includes extensive reading and reflection on existential therapists, as well as consultation and supervision from this approach.

— Tara Vossenkemper, Counselor in Columbia, MO
 

Meaning and purpose are central to life's greatest joys and deepest sorrows. Through this lens, I support clients in expanding self awareness while cultivating their sense of both freedom and responsibility. I also intertwine practical applications including career exploration, building quality relationships, and pursuing a 'life worth living' aligned with the individual's unique values. In this way, clients confront the 'big questions and gain ownership over their healing process.

— Stephanie Renny, Counselor in Cincinnati, OH

Life's meaning changes time to time. I'd like to focus how you live rather than your symptoms.

— Junko Yamauchi, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Santa Clara, CA
 

I help clients find meaning in their life and we explore both the freedom and the responsibility of living life authentically.

— Jenny Larson, Counselor in Portland, OR

"If nothing we do matters, all that matters is what we do." Meaning arises from the actions we take and the relationships we form with ourselves and others.

— Grant Gordin, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX
 

While my theoretical approach can best be described as eclectic, I have a strong foundation in existential psychology and am heavily influenced by that school of thought, so I do often see things through that lens: really upbeat stuff like ‘neurotic anxiety’ and ‘existential paralysis.’ But it’s a lot more fun than it sounds. And it can be very liberating to view life in those terms, to find meaning in the way we are interacting with the world, and to make a choice to choose differently.

— Dr. Michelle Alvarez, Clinical Psychologist in Asheville, NC

Listening to unease and discontent can shift our relationship to inherent pains and discomforts of living. Awareness of the impact and implications of beliefs, values, and actions allows us to be deliberate in how we show up, engage with ourselves and others, and participate in our lives and the world. Cultivating honesty with ourselves, drawing in spiritual and philosophical threads, illuminates purpose and meaning, moving towards ethical alignment and greater congruence and integrity.

— Jessamyn Wesley, Licensed Professional Counselor in portland, OR
 

The name "Existential Therapy" sounds very philosophical and intellectual. But nothing could be further from the truth. Existential Therapy just means that we're talking about how we find meaning in our lives, what life means to us, and how we deal with the realities of being a human being.

— Jacob Brown, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Corte madera, CA

Meaning and purpose are central to life's greatest joys and deepest sorrows. Through this lens, I support clients in expanding self awareness while cultivating their sense of both freedom and responsibility. I also intertwine practical applications including career exploration, building quality relationships, and pursuing a 'life worth living' aligned with the individual's unique values. In this way, clients confront the 'big questions and gain ownership over their healing process.

— Stephanie Renny, Counselor in Cincinnati, OH
 

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

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 Pasadena, CA
 

Existential therapy focuses on how we find meaning in our lives. People who seek psychotherapy often have lost abilities, careers, or relationships. How do we redefine our lives and find new sources of satisfaction and joy while grieving such loss? I can help you find ways to connect with meaning in yourself, your relationships with others, and your relationship with the world around you.

— Peter Addy, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Vancouver, 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

Existential therapy can help you uncover the underlying issue behind your empty feelings and discover what stands in the way of your emotional well-being. In our sessions, I can guide you to examine and define what is and isn’t providing satisfaction and fulfillment in your life. You will empowered to change your life and know yourself in a deeper way.

— Dillon Welliver, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Tallahassee, FL
 

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

Meaning and purpose are central to life's greatest joys and deepest sorrows. With this lens, I support clients in expanding self awareness while cultivating their sense of both freedom and responsibility. I also intertwine practical applications including career exploration, building quality relationships, and pursuing a 'life worth living' aligned with the individual's unique values. In this way, clients confront the 'big questions' and gain ownership over their healing process.

— Stephanie Renny, Counselor in Cincinnati, OH
 

A common theme that comes up in session with clients and in my own life is how do we cope with the vast unknown. My general world view is existential. Part of the work of therapy is helping you identify your coping strategies for life's unknowns and help you build your tolerance for sitting with it rather than running away.

— Lily Sloane, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Existential Therapy focuses on free will, self-determination, and the search for meaning. This approach often centers on you rather than on the symptom you are experiencing. The approach emphasizes your capacity to make rational choices and to develop to your maximum potential.

— Cheryl Perry, Licensed Professional Counselor in Charlotte, NC
 

Existential psychotherapy is a style of therapy that places emphasis on the human condition as a whole. Existential psychotherapy uses a positive approach that applauds human capacities and aspirations while simultaneously acknowledging human limitations. Six propositions of existential therapy are: Capacity for self-awareness. Freedom and responsibility. Establishing an identity and meaningful relationships. Finding meaning. Anxiety is unavoidable. Awareness of mortality.

— Radmila Hollnagel, Licensed Professional Counselor in Charlotte, NC