Existential therapy is based on developing a client’s insight, or self-understanding, and focuses on problems of living such as choice, meaning, responsibility, and death. This therapeutic approach emphasizes “free will,” the ability to make choices that are not dictated by heredity or past conditioning, through which an individual can become the person that he or she wants to be. Existential therapy attempts to restore meaning to life so that the client is inspired to have the courage to make choices that are both rewarding and socially constructive.
Existential therapy is a dynamic type of psychotherapy that can help us to get in touch with these questions and the ultimate concerns that often underlie many of our conflicts, anxieties, and motives. These ultimate concerns include:
- Awareness of our limited lifespan
- Our freedom to make choices
- Awareness of our existence as individuals (separateness)
- The threat of meaninglessness
Goals of Existential therapy
It is possible for people to face the anxieties of life head-on and embrace the human condition of aloneness, to revel in the freedom to choose and take full responsibility for their choices. They courageously take the helm of their lives and steer in whatever direction they choose; they have the courage to be. One does not need to arrest feelings of meaninglessness, but can choose new meanings for their lives. By building, by loving, and by creating one is able to live life as one’s own adventure. One can accept one’s own mortality and overcome fear of death. Some of the goals of existential therapy are:-
- Taking responsibility for decisions
- Finding personal meaning
- Increasing self-awareness and authentic living
The benefit of existential therapy is that it helps people to clarify and choose among different ways of living, and ultimately lead richer and more meaningful lives.