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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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

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

Let's explore the human condition and what it means to you. I take a strength based approach that increases self-awareness, accountability and quality of life.

— Sara Lowery, Psychotherapist in Marion, NC

Existential Therapy helps you explore questions such as "why am I here", "what is my purpose", "why is their suffering in the world?" "what happens after death?" "Is there a God?". It can help you create meaning in a world that can sometimes feel pointless and meaningless. It can also help you decide what you want the meaning and purpose of your life to be and to create an authentic life with that vision.

— Justina Janda, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Asheville, NC

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

Focus upon the ways in which individuals make meaning of their life situations--in the particulars as well as with respect to the phenomenon of life itself--is a central focus of my study and practice. I find value in the rich philosophical and psychological traditions informing existential work in therapy, integrating these considerations as my clients express a desire or yearning to do so.

— Mike Lee, Clinical Psychologist in Charlotte, NC

Existential therapy builds upon fundamental human paradoxes: Somehow we are each more than the sum of our parts. We are each alone, but need connection. We search to find true meaning in life, but it is up to us to create it. We strive for liberation, but truest freedom consents to responsibility. As humans we experience the painful possibility of self-awareness and comprehension of our own mortality. If these contradictions are central for you, the existential approach offers much.

— Jackie Kosak, Art Therapist in Seattle, WA

Life is about finding your individual meaning, purpose, and direction. This is the only defense we have against the random horrible things that happen to us. Perhaps the best way to describe this type of therapy is to give you the name of two books to read: "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl and "The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients" by Irvin D. Yalom.

— Gregory Custer, Licensed Professional Counselor in Scottsdale, AZ

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 Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

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

As an existentialist oriented therapist, I can help you connect the pain and suffering you are experiencing to one of the four inner given conflicts: Death, Isolation, Personal Freedom and Meaninglessness. When you are able to dig deep and get honest about what lies in the foundation of your pain and suffering and recognize that you are not alone, that the conflict is part of all human beings, the shame locked inside can dissapate and free you to become your most authentic self.

— Heidi Bailey, Clinical Social Worker in Ocean Isle Beach, NC

Existential therapy acknowledges there is no solution to the great questions about the meaning of life or death. By identifying your guiding values in life, and sitting with the discomfort of death, you may find more inner peace.

— Katherine Mancera, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist

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 we 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

Not long ago, our ancestors lived in small communities and collaborated with nature to meet the needs of the group. Today, we retain the same psychological equipment but exist within a radically different environment. This whiplash—coupled with unlimited access to information about global human suffering, climate science, and systems dysfunction/breakdown—can leave some of us feeling overwhelmed, lost, or alienated. I'm invested in helping you develop your own meaning and personal life creed.

— Dr. Emily Strang, Clinical Psychologist in Asheville, NC

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

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 practice existential therapy by focusing on areas of your life in which you can promote a greater sense of meaning and purpose, interpersonal connection, freedom, and fearlessness. I embrace the discomfort of not knowing the answer to all of life's questions, and strive to help my clients ease their anxiety about the great unknowns. Realizing that life's decisions can not always be put into boxes of "right" or "wrong" helps clients become more confident and assertive about making choices.

— Mary Mills, Counselor in Seattle, WA

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

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