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Existential Phenomenological Therapy

What does it mean to be? How is it that we are? What is my responsibility to the world? Who is the other? Am I free? What is my choice? What is time? What is death?

Existential therapy is the systematic integration of the question of your own existence into the full living of your life. You don’t have to be a philosopher to benefit from this form of therapy, though it draws from philosophers such as Soren Kirkegaard, Martin Heidegger, Jean Paul Satre, Simone de Beauvior, Emmanuel Levinas, and Martin Buber.

The questions above apply to everyone, all the time. The existential approach to therapy is phenomenological. That is, it focuses on the full experience of what it means to be you – to live in your body, at this time, in this context, in your relationships. With growing multidimensional awareness of your lived experience, you gain better understanding of the values you hold most dear, what matters most to you in the world, and how you want to live your life. You learn to encounter meaninglessness and nonexistence with the courage to be, in order to deepen the lived reality of your own existence. Grief, pain, and trauma comingle with joy, bounty, and satisfaction. Existing fully is not easy, but it offers security and stability in the deep awareness of your unique interrelation with the world.

What does existential therapy look like? It looks like any other therapeutic relationship, and can include integration of different modalities and disciplines, from CBT or DBT skills, to attachment-based therapies, to creative therapies, or tools like EMDR. But the focus and orientation are always toward the question of your meaningful existence and ethical relationship with others and the world.

“The function of freedom is to free someone else.” –Toni Morrison