Existential Psychotherapy – Values and Assumptions Underpinning Practice

Existential psychotherapy and counseling is based on the principles of existential philosophy. However, any one who has grappled with the ideas of existential philosophy will appreciate the difficulty of applying it to their individual life, however alone the psychotherapeutic partnership. The writings of Nietzsche, Sartre or Heidegger for instance, whilst original and innovative, are complicated and challenging to grasp. Their concepts also challenge the premise on which significantly of Western thinking is based. Sartre suggested that ‘Existence precedes Essence’ and that we are no cost of charge to develop ourselves in any way we wish.

Heidegger, contrary to Cartesian Dualistic suggestions, provided the notion of Dasein – we are an existent, ‘thrown’ into a globe not of our personal choosing and challenged to respond to the ‘Call of Conscience’ – to authentically engage with what it is ‘to be’. Clearly our values and person philosophy of life influence our options in life and, as psychotherapists, our decision of therapy and the modality inside which we execute. These values and beliefs subtly influence how psychotherapists assume ‘people tick’ and what they call for to do to feel greater. Whatever our modality, psychotherapy is some thing about increasing well acquiring.

What are the values and philosophical assumptions underpinning existential psychotherapy?

We have choice and absolutely no cost will. We are doomed to opt for. In our personal lives and with our customers, we see examples of denying this and also never tapping into the wide array of alternatives readily readily available to us. We say ”I cannot do this” Ï should not do this” – all examples of denying the freedom we have – at some point to be who we want to be. In an attempt to make sense of the infinite possibilities of life, we make myths or unquestioned assumptions which hoodwink us into believing there is an objective globe.

Intrinsic Flexibility of human nature. We develop our reality and ourselves by being-in-relation to other people. This suggests it is feasible to make sense of life by engaging with this reality. We develop our reality and ourselves by becoming-in-relation to other folks/difficulties. We are not fixed but beings-in-relation who experience the planet via Intentional Acts.

There are limitations to our freedom. We do not have unlimited freedom to pick out but are bounded by our situations and social, physical and cultural circumstances in which we uncover ourselves.

mindful counseling ny is a philosophical endeavor. It is a tutorial in the art of living. It is not about pathologising and considering about men and ladies to be sick but struggling with the incredibly difficulty of living and building sense of their specific conditions.

Concentrate on issues of living and not character issues. Existential psychotherapy does not focus on character differences and approaches in attempting to have an understanding of a client’s behavior. In truth, existential psychotherapists are not there to recognize their clientele – they help their clients in understanding their personal worlds and use themselves as an instrument to reveal that to clients. They also focus on the Ontic, lived encounter of the client inside Ontological givens to which the therapist is also topic.

The objective of existential psychotherapy is Authenticity. Authenticity is a Heideggerian concept that is not to do with getting genuine or truthful but embracing the notion of Dasein or ‘being there’.

Individuals are exceptional and their way of seeing the planet is beneficial. Concentrate on the individual’s subjective planet is important in existential psychotherapy and the therapist is educated to assist the client in understanding added their worldview, and valuing it, even if it is believed of to be destructive or contrary to social or cultural norms.


Therapists face the identical challenges of living that the clients face. Existential psychotherapy is not about identifying and modifying components of an individual’s self or behavior. Therapists begin off from the premise that we are all ‘at life’ and topic to ontological offered e.g. birth, death, relatedness, existential angst, decision, freedom. Our ontic practical encounter is how we reside against the backcloth of these ubiquitous existential givens.

Therapists as a Self is changed in the strategy of conducting psychotherapy. Psychotherapists are changed in the technique of functioning with consumers and a client that visits a single therapist will be one of a kind from the very same 1 who visits a additional therapist. As existants in the planet, we are co-constructed and do not exist in isolation. Not only will the story and content material material shared with a further therapist be distinctive, but phenomenologically the particular person exists only as a function of their co-building in the counseling partnership. Thus the client – and therapist – are exceptional and the stories which emerge are also exclusive, in how they are offered and in how they are received.