Compare and contrast the existential and mindfulness approaches to understanding and working with fear and sadness. Which of these two approaches do you feel more drawn to and why?
This essay focuses on Existential and Mindfulness approaches and how they work. To really understand both approaches, I will be talking about where they came from and what has developed since then, what has and how it has improved psychotherapy as a whole. Firstly, the Existential Therapy was first developed by Ludwig Bainswanger (1881-1966) and Medard Boss (1903-1990), they both worked with Psychoanalysis (Understanding Counselling & Psychotherapy, Meg Barker, Andreas Vossler and Darren Longdridge, Chapter 6: Existential Psychotherapy, pg126). From this, Existential Therapy mainly focuses on the person as a unique individual, it is understood to be a philosophical method of therapy and was mainly used in the 1940s by Sartre and de Beauvoir (Understanding Counselling and Psychotherapy, Meg Barker, Andreas Vossler, and Darren Langdridge, Existential Psychotherapy, Chapter 6.3, pg. 130). It has been said that existence precedes essence’, (adapted from Sartre, 1944). However, it was further developed in 2002 by Ernesto Spinelli & Emmy Van Deurzen. These two Philosophers extracted the Existential Approach and improved it in many ways. This therapy is now recognised as Phenomenological Approach because of the belief of uniqueness of existence (Understanding Counselling & Psychotherapy, Meg Barker, Andreas Vossler and Darren Langdridge, 2010, Chapter 6: Existential Psychotherapy, pg127). Secondly, Existential Therapy can be understood to be a way of acceptance of one’s life and fate, the freely understanding that fear and sadness are actually a part of life, a part of evolving as human beings, a continuous growth and something that’s experienced by every person at some point of their life. It is a way to focus on ourselves and on the way we see life as a whole, therefore, it can be said that fear and sadness are a part of our own existence and of our own understanding of life and what it means to live this life and to depart from it (adapted from Cooper, 2003a, pp,11-29). This therapy help us as humans to really look within ourselves and explore our fears and anxieties, it helps us to understand ourselves and others in the real world, it is practical because it is a therapeutic access to ourselves, our experiences as humans, actions, decisions and thoughts (Emmy Van Duerzen, excerpt 10, Audio Block 2, CDA6074, pg8). It constitutes reflection on everyday experiences, to practice our own existence and analyse our questions we may have about our own existence. Existential concentrates in learning “to live well in the face of the inevitable adversity and uncertainty of life”, (Darren Langdridge 2010). By using the above therapy clients of Counsellors may ask themselves deeper meaning questions such as, why am I here? What it’s my purpose in this life? These thoughts are created by our own perception of our life and death, perceptions of our own actions and the importance of those actions and the concentration of our own thoughts throughout life. The human experience of human decisions and the realisation of our own existence and goals in life (Emmy Van Duerzen, excerpt 10, existential counselling, Audio Block 2, CDA6074, PG1). The Existential Therapy, it’s a continuous growth of ourselves, therefore it’s at the centre of the person or individual, it is a method to guide us inside ourselves to really look within our thoughts and analyse and focus our behaviours, feelings, thoughts, happiness, etcetera, which, are broadly defined within ourselves (Understanding Counselling & Psychotherapy, Meg Barker, Andreas Vossler and Darren Longdridge, Chapter 6.4; Individual Therapeutic Approaches, pg134). In a nutshell, it is therefore, a way of looking at our own existence in the real world. This therapy is a common approach...
References: Cooper 2003a, Existential Therapy, London, Sage. (pg. 11.29).
Hoffman et al (2010).
Excerpt 12; Mindfulness, Audio Block 2 (CDA6074) D240 Counselling: exploring fear and sadness.
Excerpt 10; Existential Counselling, Audio Block 2, (CDA 6074) D240 Counselling: exploring fear and sadness.
Understanding Counselling and Psychotherapy, Meg Barker, Andreas Vossler, and Darren Langdridge (2010). Chapter 6, 7 & Chapter 8.
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