Sunday, October 30, 2011

Understanding Existential Therapy

Existential therapy, by focusing on choice, authenticity and what Satre called 'being condemned to freedom' helps clients eventually leave therapy with an increased tolerance for the uncertainty of life. Medelowitz and Schneider (2008) claim: "More sure of oneself, one embraces the challenges and responsibilities of life without knowing precisely what lies beyond" (p.322).

Despite the existentialists claim that they brought a flexibility and dogma free approach to therapy, it seems to me the above quotation is only really a paraphrase of something Freud had said some 100 years prior: "you will see for yourself that much has been gained if we succeed in turning your hysterical misery into common unhappiness."

Perhaps Woody Allan (nee Allen Konigsberg) highlighted the gains one can make in existential therapy best: "...mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to utter hopelessness and despair, the other to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

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