was introduced by Victor Frankl and Rollo May. Existentialism
is an area of philosophy concerned with the meaning of human existence.
It looks at issues such as love, death and the meaning of life
- and how one deals with the sense of value and meanings in their
own life. In an existentialist approach to therapy, there are
basic dimensions of the human condition. These are the capacity
for self-awareness, the tension between freedom and responsibility,
the creation of an identity and the establishment of meaningful
relationships, the search for meaning, the acceptance of anxiety
as a condition of living and the awareness of death and non-being.
Existentialists believe that our
human capacity for self-awareness gives us possibilities for freedom
- as we will realize that we are finite and time is limited, we
have the potential and the choice to act or not to act, meaning
is not automatic and we must seek it, and we are subject to loneliness,
meaninglessness, guilt and isolation. Therefore, people are free
to choose among alternatives available to them in living and have
a large role in shaping their own personal destinies. The manner
in which we live and what we become are results of our choices
and people must take responsibility for directing their own lives.
The aim of existential therapy
is to encourage clients to reflect on life, recognize their range
of alternatives and decide among them. The goal is to make people
realize the ways they passively accepted circumstances and surrender
control in order for them to start consciously shaping their own
lives by exploring options for creating a meaningful existence.
The therapies central tasks are to invite the client to recognize
how they have allowed others to decide for them, and to encourage
clients to take steps towards autonomy (independence).
Person Centre Therapy