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In existential psychotherapy, a positive approach is used that acknowledges the capacities and aspirations of people while acknowledging human limitations. The human experience does not have a prescribed manual and therefore existential therapy can be looked at as more of an attitude concerned with human suffering. It questions the nature of a person and how it is connected to the nature of life. Existential therapy is a revolutionary form of psychotherapy.
The human condition is regarded as a whole and as existential therapy holds human capacities in high regard, individuals are encouraged to take full responsibility for their own success. The existential approach is concerned with the here and now which is highly contrasting with approaches that are used to delve into the past. Existential therapy is based on the assumption that we, as human beings, are free and that we are therefore responsible for our own choices and actions. We write our own stories and we are the designers of the pathways we choose to follow.
While psycho-analysis focuses on the results of unconscious forces, past events and irrational drives and behaviorists argue that individuality is a product of socio-cultural conditioning; the existential approach rejects these deterministic views. Existential therapy rather focuses on assisting people in the journey of exploring the existential givens of life.
The four main existential givens are:. In existential psychotherapy, it is believed that all people experience internal conflict that results from their interaction with the conditions that form an integral part of human existence. The theory of existential therapy argues that the ultimate concerns of living are often ignored or plainly denied and that by addressing these concerns people can experience greater meaning in life. The existential assumption that we can only be what we choose to be, gives light to the idea that we cannot fall victim to circumstance.
Therefore, the principles of existential therapy suggest that once we can start the process of recognizing how we often passively accept surrender control to circumstances; we can start taking steps toward shaping our own lives.
The main goal of existential therapy is to invite people to reflect on life and to recognize the fact that, in life, there are alternatives among which we can choose. The practice of existential psychotherapy invites an individual to confront the ultimate concerns of life fairly and honestly. By confronting the uncertain conditions connected to human existence an individual is filled with a kind of dread that we can refer to as existential anxiety. According to Irvin Yalom a contemporary existential psychotherapist , the universal concerns of death, freedom, isolation, and emptiness form part of the human experience even though each person experiences their own distinctive concerns.
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Existential therapy is mainly concerned with the anxiety that results from confronting these internal conflicts and the therapist plays a central role in fostering the idea that each person needs to realize that they are responsible for making their own decisions. Basically, a therapist can be seen as a traveling companion on the journey through life who uses support and empathy to guide the traveler toward gaining insight into their state of existence.
The essence of existential psychotherapy is to address the core question of how one exists in the face of the ever-changing state of life and uncertainties like conflict or death. Existential therapy practitioners work with individuals in therapy in a way that helps them to discover and explore life choices that lie before them instead of focussing on the past.
The past may, however, be used as a tool for promoting newfound assertiveness and a sense of freedom. Through existential therapy, the person becomes enabled to let go of the things that have been in the way of their true freedom. The interventions employed by existential practitioners are essentially based on philosophical views involving the nature of human existence.stammerhuddsimpmit.tk
Meaning Therapy: An Integrative and Positive Existential Psychotherapy | Dr. Paul Wong
One of the core concepts in existential therapy is to increase self-awareness and this includes being aware of alternatives, influencing factors, motivations and personal goals. Ignorance may have caused a feeling of contentment, but by facing reality, more turmoil can be expected; however, this may also create the potential for greater fulfillment. Another central theme that is characteristic of existential therapy is that people have the freedom to choose among alternatives and by doing so; they play a major role in shaping their own destiny.
The role of the therapist in this regard is to help a person discover the ways in which he or she may be avoiding freedom and to encourage the risk of using it.
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It is also the task of the therapist to teach people to accept the fact that they always have choices and that they need to take responsibility for these choices. Part of the existential therapy journey is for people to realize how they have lost touch with their true identity especially by allowing other people to design their lives. The therapeutic process can be a frightening experience because people may realize that they have surrendered their personal freedom to others and that they need to assume their freedom again. The person will then be asked various questions that may give them the courage to recognize this fear, to add words to the picture and to realize that the whole concept is not as overwhelming as they may have thought.
The person is also confronted with the reality that he or she alone can find the answers to their own questions. It is human nature to have a certain interest in finding meaning and satisfaction in life.