Existentialist Approach to Therapy

Topics: Existentialism, Psychology, Psychotherapy Pages: 3 (816 words) Published: March 26, 2013
Core Philosophy of Existential Therapy
Psychology has been dominated by the empirical approach to study individual behavior. Counselors and therapist have placed they interest in the third force perspective on therapy which is a theoretical alternative to the psychoanalytic behavioral approaches. This has encouraged therapist to turn to the humanistic approaches like the existential therapy which was developed by Carl Rogers and the Gestalt therapy developed by Fritz Perls. These both therapies are experimental and relationship-oriented rather than just focusing on behavior and personality. Existentialist therapy reacts against the psychoanalytic and behavioristic positions’ deterministic, reductionistic and mechanic view of humans. The existentialist approach is grounded on the assumption that we are free, whereas the psychoanalytic view sees freedom as restricted by unconscious forces, irrational drives and past events. The existential approach to counseling and psychotherapy focuses on what to be human and the basic conditions of the human condition. These include the capacity for self-awareness, freedom and responsibility, commitment, choice in the face of uncertainty, finding one’s uniqueness and identity and relating to others in a meaningful way, the courage to face fundamental aloneness to choose for oneself , the search of meanings, values, purpose and goals and anxiety and awareness of death and nonbeing. The existential movement stands for the respect of person for exploring new aspects of behavior and for divergent methods of understanding people rather than using a single approach to understand people, it used numerous approach of therapy based on its assumption about human nature. Rollo May stated that all individuals have an urge to become a person that have the tendency to develop singularity, discover their personality identity and strive for the full actualization of their potentials. Abraham Maslow also focused on the nature of the...
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