Existential Psychotherapy or counselling is an opportunity to work with a skilled person who will help you reflect on you and your life choices. It differs from a psychological intervention which focuses on a presenting challenge in one’s way of thinking, feeling or behaving. Psychotherapy is a open-ended process which allows you to examine where you feel you don’t have choice or feel unable to access the choices available.
So often, we believe that the choice of how to be in the world is far more limited than is the case. The real limitations are more likely to be in our minds and arise out of the pervasive nature of myths – unquestioned assumptions that hoodwink us into believing that we ‘can’t, mustn’t or shouldn’t’ do certain things or think in certain ways. As a result, we end up blaming other people or external circumstances for our predicament instead of taking responsibility for our life choices.
Existential therapy has been described ‘A tutorial in the art of living’. It celebrates our uniqueness and encourages us to look at our subjective experiences. By becoming clearer about our values, beliefs and recurring patterns, we are invited to re-appraise our choices and consider the consequences of changing and taking full responsibility for our part in creating what we experience. Existential psychotherapy enables the client to move from being an unconscious expert of their life to a conscious one – one who becomes the leader for their own life and who learns to live with the inevitable anxiety that meaningful living entails. The anxiety associated with meaningfully choosing your life direction is existential in nature and arises out of an awareness that our choices are made against the backcloth of the constraint of time.
For further information on the values underpinning existential therapy click here.