Existential Psychology or Existentialism

Existential Psychology or Existentialism



  • 1 Existential Psychology: a philosophical approach
  • 2 History of Existential Theory
  • 3 The Existential Approach Theories
  • 4 The Four Kingdoms
  • 5 How might existential guidance help?

Existential Psychology: a philosophical approach

It is a therapeutic approach more philosophical than technical, which bases its perspective on phenomenological-existential philosophies. Focusing on the human condition as a whole, Existential Therapy applauds human capabilities and encourages individuals to take responsibility for their successes.

Through dialogue, identify our prejudices and ways of proceeding in life. He has an open disposition towards the particular situation of the patient and his way of experiencing life. It focuses on the conflicts that arise when faced with a world that, paradoxically, threatens the particular way in which we have explained our own existence.

Emotional and psychological difficulties are seen as an internal conflict caused by the individual's confrontation with what is determined by their own existence. Instead of delving into the past, the existential approach it focuses on the here and now, the exploration of the human condition as a whole and what it means for an individual.

History of Existential Theory

The roots of Existential Psychotherapy is found in the philosophy of the early nineteenth century, with philosophers whose work focused on human existence. The philosophers most commonly associated with Existential Therapy are Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche. These two thinkers came into conflict with respect to the prevailing ideologies of their time, so they committed themselves to the exploration of reality and the way it is experienced.

Kierkegaard's theory of human discontent can only be overcome through internal wisdom, while Nietzsche introduced the idea of ​​free will and personal responsibility. In 1900 philosophers such as Sartre and Heidegger had begun to explore the role of interpretation and research in the healing process.

During the next decades other contemporaries began to recognize the importance of 'experimenting' in terms of achieving psychological well-being.

The Existential Approach Theories

A key element of Existential Guidance is that does not put emphasis on past events, like some other types of therapy. The approach takes into account the past, through hindsight to understand the implications of past events. But instead of blaming the events of the past, existential orientation uses them as a vision, becoming a tool to promote freedom and assertiveness. Coming to the conclusion that they are not defined by their history and that they are not destined to have a certain future is often a breakthrough that offers liberation during this type of therapy.

Practitioners of Existential Therapy say that His role is to help facilitate an individual's own encounter with himself to work together as he explores values, assumptions and ideals. An existential therapist will seek to avoid imposing their own judgments and instead of helping to elucidate the person and work on their own perspective.

The therapist must enter sessions with an open mind and be willing to question their own prejudices and assumptions. You must perform an almost deliberate naive exercise in the therapeutic relationship, the goal of the therapist is to understand the assumptions of the client himself with a clarity that the individual may not be able to have about himself.

A central belief of existential orientation is that, Although human beings are essentially unique in the world, they yearn to be connected with other peers. This belief can help explain why certain problems appear and also help the person understand why he feels like he does sometimes.

Another interesting theory is that the internal conflict derives from the individual's confrontation with the principles of existence. These data were observed by psychotherapist Irvin D. Yalom, and include:

  1. the inevitability of death
  2. freedom and its subsequent responsibility
  3. existential isolation
  4. the nonsense of existence

These four primary concerns are the cornerstones of Existential Psychotherapy and make up the framework in which the therapist identifies the individual's problem. Once the topic has been conceptualized by the therapist, a treatment method can be developed.

Basic principles of existentialism

  • The human being is elective, therefore, able to choose his own destiny;
  • The human being is free to set his own life goals; Y
  • The human being is responsible for their own choices.

The Four Kingdoms

Within the Existential Psycho Therapy there is a description of four different levels of experience and existence with which people inevitably face. These can often help people understand the context of their concerns. It is believed that the orientation of a person towards the world and the four kingdoms define your reality. There are several names for the four kingdoms within existential therapy, however, the following are perhaps the best known:

The physical world

This world or kingdom is centered around the physical. It is the world we share with animals, the world of bodily needs. It is the world that stores desire, relief, sleep / wake cycles and nature. Birth, death and physical feelings / symptoms are also part of this kingdom.

The social world

Everything related to relationships is found in the social world. Culture, society and language are here, as well as work, attitudes towards authority, community and family. Emotions, friendships and romantic relationships are also part of the social world.

The personal world

The personal world deals with one's problems. This includes intimacy (with oneself and others), identity, personal characteristics and the general sense of self. Personal strengths and weaknesses are also important, as is the issue of being authentic.

The world of ideas

The last kingdom is considered our "ideal" world. Religion, values, beliefs and transformation are included. This is the dimension in which we make sense of our life and it is considered the realm of transcendence.

How could existential guidance help?

One of the main objectives of Existential Therapy is to help people face the anxieties of life in front and embrace freedom of choice that human beings they have, taking full responsibility for these options when they do. Existential therapists try to help people live more authentically and be less interested or superficial. They also encourage customers to take ownership of their lives, to find meaning and live fully in the present.

Individuals who are interested in self-examination and who see their concerns as life issues rather than the symptoms of a psychiatric illness, are more likely to benefit from this approach to counseling. The Existential Therapy It is also very suitable for those who face problems of existence, for example, those with a terminal illness, those who think about suicide, or even those who go through a transition in their life.

Related tests
  • Personality test
  • Self-esteem test
  • Couple Compatibility Test
  • Self-knowledge test
  • Friendship test
  • Am i in love