Existential therapy is a unique form of psychotherapy that looks to explore difficulties from a philosophical perspective.
Focusing on the human condition as a whole, existential therapy highlights our capacities and encourages us to take responsibility for our successes.
The roots of existential psychotherapy lie in philosophy from the 1800s, and more importantly with philosophers whose work dealt with human existence.
A key element of existential counselling is that it does not place emphasis on past events like some other therapy types.
Instead of putting blame on events from the past, however, existential counselling uses them as insight, becoming a tool to promote freedom and assertiveness.
The inner conflict stems from an individual's confrontation with the givens of existence:
•freedom and responsibility
People in therapy who are willing to explore the reasons for their intrapsychic conflicts and the decisions that led to their current circumstances can benefit greatly from existential psychotherapy.
There are many behavioral and mental health issues that may be successfully treated with this therapeutic approach, including depression, anxiety, substance dependency, and posttraumatic stress, interpersonal violence, or other life-threatening experiences.
For some individuals, pushing them into consideration of death, isolation, and meaninglessness may result in unintended consequences, including deep depression, suicidal thoughts, or even suicide attempts.
Similarly, an individual who is only looking for a quick fix to his or her current challenges may not be ready or willing to dive into such an intense form of therapy.