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What It’s Like to Visit an Existential Therapist

Existential therapy has slowly been gaining recognition

In 2016, there were 136 existential-therapy institutions in 43 countries across six continents, and existential practitioners in at least 48 countries worldwide.

Recent studies show the benefits of using existential therapy for patients with advanced cancer, incarcerated individuals, and elderly people residing in nursing homes, among others; a number of meta-analyses have gathered data on its effectiveness.

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What It’s Like to Visit an Existential Therapist

What It’s Like to Visit an Existential Therapist

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/01/existential-therapy-you-can-ask-big-questions/579292/

theatlantic.com

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Key Ideas

History of existential therapy

  • Its origins go back to the existential philosophers of the 20th century, mainly to Jean-Paul Sartre, who declared in 1943 that we are “condemned to be free.”
  • Viktor Frankl wrote Man’s Search for Meaning in 1946, and coined logotherapy as a method of creating meaning.
  • Rollo May moved his perspective of the “existential-humanistic” approach in the 1950s from Europe to America.
  • In 1980, Irvin Yalom defined the basis of the field of existential therapy, by establishing the four “givens” of the human condition: death, meaning, isolation, and freedom.
  • Today there are a few different branches of existential therapy, but they all emphasize the fact that we can deal with existential givens in a way that can move us toward a free, authentic existence.

What is existential therapy

Existential therapy concentrates on free will, self-determination, and the quest for meaning. It views experiences like as anxiety, alienation and depression as normal phases in the human development and maturation.

This process involves a philosophical examination of a person's experiences, emphasizing the person's freedom and responsibility to facilitate a higher degree of meaning and well-being in their life.

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Viktor Frankl

"It doesn’t really matter what we expected from life, but what life expected from us."

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