Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Theories and Methods - Existential therapy

Existential therapy is primarily concerned with a growth oriented approach focusing on one’s existence. The therapist uses a person’s struggles with death, isolation, freedom and meaninglessness in order to help the client adapt to life. Anxiety is the result of conflicts that arise between these four realms.
Existentialists view humans as having the capacity for self-awareness, having freedom and responsibility, striving for identity and meaningful relationships, searching for meaning, aware of death and anxious. People are constantly striving for meaning, being and feeling alive and they have the capacity and freedom to make these choices regardless of their circumstances. An existential view of maladaptive behavior takes into account the guilt felt by an individual who chooses not to choose or who have rigid and restrictive ways of thinking and acting.
Existential therapy encourages people to take responsibility for their lives while helping them achieve greater intimacy, interpersonal success, and learn about themselves. The therapist is ultimately hoping to move a client towards a more authentic way of being.
One particular form of existential therapy is logotherapy, which was created by Victor Frankl and focuses on the use of confrontation as a means of creating meaning.

For further review: Existential Psychotherapy, Love's Executioner & Other Tales of Psychotherapy, Man's Search for Meaning

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