Existential therapy is a unique form of psychotherapy that aims at exploring the difficulties the person is facing from a philosophical point of view. It focuses on the human condition as a whole. It is focused on highlighting the strength and talents of the person that can help them gain the success they deserve.
An existential therapist evaluates the client’s life experiences in four dimensions of existence; social, spiritual, psychological, and physical. The existential theory has this belief that the conflicts we face stem from the confrontations with the ultimate concerns or the ‘givens’ of existence. These include:
- Existential isolation.
- Freedom and responsibility.
- The inevitability of death.
The existential approach stresses that:
- Anxiety is a part of the human condition.
- All people can be self-aware if they want.
- Each individual and unique in his/her way.
- People must re-create their thoughts and choices to keep up with life changes.
How to find an Existential Therapist
If you are looking to find the perfect Existential Therapist it is crucial to make sure that they have the appropriate qualifications, knowledge and experience. At Expat Therapy 4U we only accept therapists who have full professional proficiency in English and are highly experienced in working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. The clinicians we approve share our values and commitment to provide high quality therapy to the expatriate community in the private sector across Europe and online worldwide. We strongly believe that therapy changes lives, and being accredited ensures all our therapists are qualified to a high standard. You can find an Existential Therapist who is insured to practice and accredited with a recognised membership body online here.
What does Existential Therapy help with?
People, young or adults, who are willing to explore the reasons behind their psychological issues and are ready to take the responsibility of their decisions are the best fit for this therapy. These are the people who want to make healthy choices but are surrounded by conflicts that need to be resolved.
Psychological issues like substance abuse can also be treated with this therapy. Often such problems are the result of the inability to make healthy, meaningful, and self-directed choices about their lives. A large variety of symptoms can be treated with this approach such as depression, anxiety, guilt, anger, rage, apathy, alienation, nihilism, shame, addiction, avoidance, resentment, purposelessness, violence, and psychosis. They also focus on life-changing experiences such as love, care, commitment, relationship, courage, power, will, spirituality, individuation, self-actualisation, acceptance, transcendence, and awe.
How does Existential Therapy work?
Mainly the practise of existential therapy is bold and purposeful, so it often considered pessimistic, but it is not. It is a flexible approach that gives positive results. The existential therapy focuses on confronting the ultimate concerns of existence that include suffering, loneliness, and meaninglessness. Certain concerns are rooted in each individual according to their uniqueness but according to the experts of existential therapy, the universal ones are isolation, freedom, death, and emptiness. The role of the therapist is to induce responsibility in the client for the decisions and choices they have made.
In existential therapy, there are four levels of experiences and existence that are considered to be inevitable for the people. Once the client understands these realms, they can understand the context of their concerns. In this theory, it is believed that these realms define the reality of every individual but in a unique way. These are the four basic realms of existential therapy:
The physical realm
This realm is centred around physicality. It is the world where we share space with animals and the world of bodily needs. It is where desires, relief, sleep/wake cycles, and nature are stored. Physical symptoms and feelings including death and birth are also part of the realm.
The personal realm
It is concerned with the issues of self. This realm covers identity issues, relationship issues, personal characteristics, and a sense of self. This also consists of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual.
The social realm
The social realm covers everything from social gatherings to the relationships. Attitude towards society, authority, culture, language, race, and family, everything is a part of this realm. Everything in the social world including friendship, romantic relationships, and emotions are a part of it.
The making realm
This realm is considered to be our ‘ideal’ world. This includes values, religion, transformation, and belief. This is the dimension where the sense of life is made and is it the realm of transcendence.
What is unique about Existential Therapy?
Existential therapy is based on self-determination, free will, and the search for meaning in life. Other therapies are not focused on these elements. For instance, psychodynamic therapy is based on treating problematic feelings, behaviours, and thought patterns by focusing on the unconscious part of the mind. This approach is more about dwelling in the past whereas the existential therapy doesn’t do that. It does use past as the guidance but it doesn’t keep focusing on that. It moves towards freedom and decision making.
Similarly, CBT focuses on the role of developing a healthy and positive cognition. In CBT, it is believed that dysfunctional thinking leads to disturbing behaviours and attitudes. This rectifying those thoughts is required to live a healthy and normal life. CBT believes that people can alter the way they think. But, in existential therapy, the focus lies on the ability of the person to make decisions out of the free will and take responsibility for those decisions. It is very important to face your anxiety and be courageous to develop changes in life willingly.
What to expect from Existential Therapy?
Through the course of therapy, existential psychotherapies of wide range are used majorly focusing on freedom and responsibility. The therapist will help the clients find the meaning of their actions and choices in the face of anxiety and fear. They will learn to act responsibly by confronting the negative thoughts that they are having rather than focusing on the external forces like societal changes and pressure.
This will help the client foster love, creativity, authenticity, and free will through the therapy and move towards better transformation. Similarly, in the treatment of addiction disorder, existential therapy will help the client face anxiety with the courage to overcome the urge to abuse the substance. You will be able to make the wilful decision about how to live life, and make better decisions while taking full responsibility. It is found to be very effective therapy for better life.
Existential therapy focuses on the clients as separate individuals with unique choices that made that shaped their lives. The client is encouraged to take responsibility for the decisions and choices they have made. They are taught that their choices can make them build the future they desire.
Further Readings on Existential Therapy
About Expat Therapy 4U
Expat Therapy 4U is the result of 5 years’ experience running The International Psychology Clinic, the first private therapy service based in London specialized in multilingual and multicultural therapy.
The platform is run by Dr Martina Paglia. Dr Martina is a leading dual qualified Clinical and Counselling psychologist who helps patients by providing bespoke psychological services including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy in London and online worldwide.
Our network comprises highly qualified and experienced private therapists who have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of expats worldwide. All members of our community are highly experienced working in cross-cultural environments.
We are passionate about delivering first-class patient-centred, safe and effective care. If you would like to work with a warm, inclusive, caring and professional English-speaking therapist in Europe or online worldwide you have come to the right place.
If you are looking for the perfect expat Therapist in Europe or online worldwide, our team is dedicated to help you find your best match. We offer a client guarantee where clients can re-book with a different therapist if they are not satisfied with their first therapy session.
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