Jan 08, 2021 · The existential theory recognizes the power of the individual to choose their actions. In existential therapy, you can examine your situation more clearly, become more aware of your power in your situation, and begin to make the choices that are meaningful to you.
A system in psychology focused on the belief that the essence of humans is their existence.
Oct 02, 2014 · Existential psychology promotes absolute truth for individuals and encourages authentic living. Existential Psychology and American Culture. Whether we use the term existential psychology or not, the ideas of existential psychology play a major role in the thinking of American culture today.
- River Lin
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. Existential psychotherapy shares many similarities with humanistic psychology, experiential psychotherapy, depth psychotherapy, and relational psychotherapy.
Existential therapy developed out of the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche and Soren Kierkegaard. As one of the first existential philosophers, Kierkegaard theorized that human discontent could only be overcome through internal wisdom. Later, Nietzsche further developed the theory of existentialism by introducing the idea of free will and personal responsibility. In the early 1900s, philosophers such as Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre began to explore the role of investigation and interpretation in the healing process. Over the next several decades, other contemporaries started to acknowledge the importance of experiencing in relation to understanding as a method to achieving psychological wellness and balance.
Otto Rank was among the first existential therapists to actively pursue the discipline, and by the middle of the 20th century, psychologists Paul Tillich and Rollo May brought existential therapy into the mainstream through their writings and teachings, as did Irvin Yalom after them. The popular approach began to influence other theories, including logotherapy, whic developed by Viktor Frankl, and humanistic psychology. At the same time, British philosophers expanded existentialism further with the foundation of The Philadelphia Association, an organization dedicated to helping people manage their mental health issues with experiential therapies. Other institutions that embody the theory of existentialism include the Society for Existential Analysis, founded in 1988, and the International Community of Existential Counselors, created in 2006.
A confrontation with any of the aforementioned conditions, or givens, fills an individual with a type of dread commonly referred to as existential anxiety. This anxiety is thought to reduce a persons physical, psychological, social, and spiritual awareness, which may lead to significant long-term consequences.
For example, the fact that each one of us and each one of our loved ones must die at some unknown time may be a source of deep anxiety to us, and this may tempt us to ignore the reality and necessity of death in human existence. By reducing our awareness of death, however, we may fail to make decisions that can actually safeguard or even enrich our lives. At the other end of the spectrum, people who are overly conscious of the fact that death is inevitable may be driven to a state of neurosis or psychosis.
People in therapy who are willing to explore the reasons for their intrapsychic conflicts and the decisions that led to their current circumstances can benefit greatly from existential psychotherapy. There are many behavioral and mental health issues that may be successfully treated with this therapeutic approach, including depression, anxiety, substance dependency, and posttraumatic stress resulting from exposure to military combat, rape, childhood sexual abuse, interpersonal violence, or other life-threatening experiences.
Individuals who respond to treatment tend to find meaning and purpose in their lives and often experience heightened self-awareness, self-understanding, self-respect, and self-motivation. The realization that they are primarily responsible for their own recovery often increases the likelihood that people in treatment will see beyond the limits of a therapy session and view recovery as a therapeutic process.
Because existential psychotherapy targets the underlying factors of perceived behavioral and mental health concerns, an existential approach may not directly address the primary issue a person in treatment is experiencing. Because of this, existential therapy, which is quite adaptable, is often used along with other approaches to treatment. Combining approaches can help maximize the effectiveness of both and promote greater recovery. Additionally, the in-depth, penetrative approach used in existential psychotherapy may not appeal to people who do not wish to explore their intrapsychic processes, or who are solely interested in finding a quick fix for their mental health challenges.
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Oct 25, 2018 · Existential psychology developed in an attempt to understand how people cope with the realities of existence. This includes how individuals think about themselves (e.g., self-awareness), how they relate to others, how they create a meaningful and satisfying life, and how they manage anxieties associated with the inevitability of death.
Jan 02, 2020 · Existential therapy is unique in that it is more of a philosophical orientation to therapy than an actual therapeutic theory. Explanation of Existential Theory Viktor Frankl and Rollo May are the primary existential therapy theorists. Frankl lost his family to Nazi concentration camps and was himself a prisoner in Auschwitz and Dachau.
Even in high school Frankl was developing a keen interest in existential philosophy and psychology. At the age of 16 he delivered a public lecture “On the Meaning of Life” and at 18 he wrote his graduation essay “On the Psychology of Philosophical Thought.”
Meaning is the quintessential existential topic. All topics lead to and are connected with meaning. An essential assumption of the existential theorists is that people are meaning-seeking creatures. It is meaning that can make existence bearable.
Existential Theory and Other Schools of Psychology Despite the contrary views of existential theory to those of other schools of psychology (O’Hara, 2005), some contemporary theorists highlight the significance of self-determination and meaningfulness in the shaping of the person. Psychoanalytic forefather Carl Jung (1959) writes
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