• Existential Psychotherapy - Values and Assumptions Underpinning Practice


    Existential psychotherapy and counseling are on the basis of the principles of existential philosophy. However, anyone who has grappled with the concepts of existential philosophy will appreciate the problem of applying it to their own life, let alone the psychotherapeutic relationship.


    Heidegger, unlike Cartesian Dualistic ideas, offered the concept of Dasein - we are an existent, thrown into a world, not of our own choosing and challenged to react to the Call of Conscience- to authentically engage using what it is to be. Clearly, our values and personal philosophy of life influence our choices in life and, as psicoterapeuta our range of therapy and the modality within which we work.


    These values and beliefs subtly influence how psychotherapists think people tick and what they should do to feel better. Whatever our modality psicoterapia is something about increasing well-being.


    What are the values and philosophical assumptions underpinning existential psychotherapy?


    We have a choice and free will. We're doomed to choose. In our own lives and with these clients, we see types of denying this and also never tapping to the variety of solutions to us. We say I can't do this Ï shouldn't do this- all types of denying the freedom we have - ultimately to be who you want to be. In an effort to produce a sense of the infinite possibilities of life, we create myths or unquestioned assumptions which hoodwink us into believing there's an objective world.


    Intrinsic Flexibility of human nature. We create our reality and ourselves by being-in-relation to others. This means it is possible to produce a sense of life by engaging with this reality. We create our reality and ourselves by being-in-relation to others/things. We're not fixed but beings-in-relation who experience the world through Intentional Acts.

    You will find limitations to your freedom. We do not have unlimited freedom to select but are bound by our circumstances and social, physical and cultural circumstances in which we find ourselves.


    Existential psychotherapy is really a philosophical endeavor. It is really a tutorial in the art of living. It is not about pathologising and considering individuals to be sick but fighting the problem of living and making sense of their particular circumstances.


    Give attention to problems of living and not personality problems. Existential psychotherapy does not give attention to personality differences and approaches in trying to understand a client's behavior. In reality, existential psychotherapists are not there to know their clients - they assist their clients in understanding their particular worlds and use themselves as an instrument to demonstrate that to clients. They also give attention to the Ontic, lived experience of the client within Ontological givens to that the therapist is also subject.


    The goal of existential psychotherapy is Authenticity. Authenticity is really a Heideggerian concept that is not to do with being genuine or truthful but embracing the concept of Dasein or being there '.


    Individuals are unique and their way of seeing the world is valuable. Give attention to the individual's subjective world is key in existential psychotherapy and the therapist is trained to assist the client in understanding further their worldview, and valuing it, even if it is regarded as destructive or unlike social or cultural norms.


    Therapists face the exact same challenges of living that the clients face. Existential psychotherapy is not about identifying and modifying aspects of an individual's self or behavior. Therapists begin from the premise that individuals are typical at life and at the mercy of ontological given e.g. birth, death, relatedness, existential angst, choice, freedom. Our ontic experience is how we live contrary to the backcloth of the ubiquitous existential givens.

    Therapists as a Self is changed in the act of conducting psychotherapy. Psychotherapists are changed in the act of dealing with clients and a client that visits one therapist is likely to be distinctive from the exact same one that visits another therapist. As existents on earth, we are co-constructed and don't exist in isolation. Not only will the story and content shared with another therapist vary, but phenomenological anyone exists only as a function of their co-construction in the counseling relationship. Thus the client - and therapist - are unique and the stories which emerge are also unique, in how they're given and in how they're received.


    We alone are accountable for choosing how exactly to be. Because we must all choose our being (even when we choose not to choose), we must take responsibility for anyone choices and see our part in creating the lives we lead. This is challenging for most those who might interest external forces to describe their or others behavior. Existential psychotherapy serves to empower clients to spot and own how they create everything inside their lives.