The existential approach is increasingly valued for its potential to throw new light on the old human issues which characterise our existence.
Viewing the ‘self’ as a dynamic, flexible process, existential therapy enables an individual to reflect upon their values and beliefs, take stock of the situation they find themselves in, widen their perspectives on themselves and the world around them and develop a more honest and direct relationship with themselves.
As a therapist with an existential leaning, I am fundamentally concerned with what matters most to the client.
Working with what the client brings and being non-directive (but not directionless) clients have the space and opportunity to reflect on their own lives in a way that is most meaningful to them.
Through an exploration of both the client and therapists experience of each other, a clients’ relational patterns may be revealed. Exploring how we perceive ourselves in relation to others and in the world can enable clients to better understand and make sense of their relational lives.
Depression can affect individuals in many different ways. Starting with where a client is, engaging in the process of therapy enables an individual to explore their deepest moods and feeling states.
In acknowledging and being curious about these states, there is opportunity to gain greater understanding and clarity about where a client finds themselves, and where (and how) they would like to be.
The experience of depression can represent a pivotal moment of an individual’s life. The experience can provide an invitation to respond to one’s life and design the course of one’s choosing.
Anxiety can include a feeling of uncanniness and sense of not-being-at-home. Though the experience of anxiety can be incredibly debilitating and challenging, it belongs within the realm of our human experience. It points to an essential aspect of our humanity and part of the natural human emotional response to circumstances in our lives.
The philosopher Kierkagaard considered anxiety to be crucial to spiritual life and something which cannot be avoided without cost. With anxiety as the starting point of therapy, one can learn to understand and manage it in constructive ways rather than becoming overwhelmed with it.
Dealing with the pressures of day to day living can evoke stress. Within the safety of the therapeutic relationship, there is opportunity to explore and reflect upon the issues in a client’s life that may be contributing to stress. This creates an opportunity to better understand one’s situation and move forward by facing up to and managing, rather than avoiding, these frustrations.