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Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy 10th corey chapter 06

Theory and Practice of
Counseling and Psychotherapy
TENTH EDITION

Gerald Corey
Cengage Learning

Copyright © 2017 Cengage Learning


Chapter 6
Existential Therapy

Copyright © 2017 Cengage Learning


Existential Psychotherapy
(slide 1 of 2)


Best described as a philosophical approach that

influences a counselor’s therapeutic practice



Asks deep questions about the nature of the human
being and of anxiety, despair, grief, loneliness, isolation,
and anomie



Deals centrally with the questions of meaning,
creativity, and love

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (1)


Existential Psychotherapy
(slide 2 of 2)


Common questions/sources of existential angst for clients


“Why am I here?”



“What do I want from life?”



“What gives my life purpose?”



“Where is the source of meaning for me in life?”

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (2)



Basic Dimensions of the
Human Condition (slide 1 of 2)


The capacity for self-awareness



The tension between freedom and responsibility



The creation of an identity and establishing
meaningful relationships

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (3)


Basic Dimensions of the
Human Condition (slide 2 of 2)


The search for meaning



Accepting anxiety as a condition of living



The awareness of death and nonbeing

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (4)


The Capacity for Self-Awareness


The greater our awareness, the greater our possibilities
for freedom



Awareness is realizing that:
 We are finite—time is limited
 We have the choice to act or not to act
 Meaning is not automatic—we must seek it
 We are subject to loneliness, meaninglessness,
emptiness, guilt, and isolation

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (5)


Freedom and Responsibility


We do not choose the circumstances into which we are
born, but we create our own destiny through our choices



Freedom implies that we are responsible for our lives, for
our actions, and for our failures to take action



Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand; assuming
responsibility is a basic condition for change

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (6)


Identity and Relationship
(slide 1 of 2)


Identity is “the courage to be”– we must trust ourselves
to search within and find our own answers


Our great fear is that we will discover that there is no
core, no self



Being existentially “alone” helps us to discover our
authentic self

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (7)


Identity and Relationship
(slide 2 of 2)


Balancing aloneness and relatedness helps us develop a
unique identity and live authentically in the moment



At their best our relationships are based on our desire for
fulfillment, not based on deprivation



Relationships based on deprivation tend to be clinging
and symbiotic

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (8)


The Search for Meaning


A distinctly human characteristic is the struggle for a
sense of significance and purpose in life



Logotherapy can provide the conceptual framework for
helping clients find meaning in their lives



Meaninglessness in life can lead to emptiness and
hollowness; an “existential vacuum”

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (9)


Anxiety: A Condition of Living
(slide 1 of 2)


Yalom’s four givens of existence create anxiety



Existential anxiety is normal - life cannot be lived, nor
can death be faced, without anxiety



Neurotic anxiety, of which we typically are unaware, is
anxiety about concrete things that is out of proportion
to the situation

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (10)


Anxiety: A Condition of Living
(slide 2 of 2)


A healthy view of anxiety
 Anxiety can be a stimulus for growth as we become
aware of and accept our freedom; it can be a catalyst
for living authentically and fully


We can blunt our anxiety by creating the illusion that
there is security in life



If we have the courage to face ourselves and life we
may be frightened, but we will be able to change

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (11)


Awareness of Death and Nonbeing


Death gives significance to living; it is necessary to think
about death if we are to think significantly about life



Our awareness of death is the source of zest for life and
creativity



We can turn our fear of death into a positive force when
we accept the reality of our mortality

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (12)


Goals of Existential
Psychotherapy (slide 1 of 2)


Assisting clients in moving toward authenticity and
learning to recognize when they are deceiving themselves



Helping clients face anxiety and engage in action that is
based on creating a meaningful existence



Helping clients to reclaim and reown their lives; teaching
them to listen to what they already know about
themselves

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (13)


Goals of Existential Psychotherapy
(slide 2 of 2)


Schneider and Krug (2010) identify four aims of therapy:
 To help clients become more present to themselves and
others


To assist clients in identifying ways they block themselves
from fuller presence



To challenge clients to assume responsibility for designing
their present lives



To encourage clients to choose more expanded ways of
being in their daily lives

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (14)


Relationship Between Therapist and Client


Therapy is a journey taken by therapist and client
 The person-to-person relationship is key
 The relationship demands that therapists be in
contact with their own phenomenological world



The core of the therapeutic relationship
 Respect and faith in the clients’ potential to cope
 Sharing reactions with genuine concern and empathy

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (15)


Role of Techniques


Existential psychotherapy is not technique oriented



Techniques from other models can be used within the
context of striving to understand the subjective world
of the client, but they must be used in an integrated
fashion



When the deepest self of the therapist meets the
deepest part of the client, the counseling process is at
its best

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (16)


Phases of Existential Therapy


Initial phase: Clients are assisted in identifying and
clarifying their assumptions about the world



Middle phase: Clients are assisted in more fully
examining the source and authority of their present
value system



Final phase: Clients are assisted in translating what
they have learned about themselves into action

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (17)


Application to Group Counseling (slide 1 of
2)


Provides an ideal environment for therapeutic work on
responsibility
 Clients are responsible for their behavior in group
 Group settings provide a mirror of how clients may
act in the world
 Through feedback members learn to view themselves
through another’s eyes and how their behavior
affects others

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (18)


Application to Group Counseling
(slide 2 of 2)


Builds interpersonal skills
 Creates an opportunity to relate to others in a
meaningful and authentic way



Provides an opportunity to explore the paradoxes of
existence



Reduces avoidance of universal existential concerns
because not addressing these themes diminishes one’s
engagement with life

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (19)


Strengths from a Diversity
Perspective


It does not dictate a particular way of viewing or
relating to reality



It has a focus on universality, and on the human
experiences that transcend the boundaries that
separate cultures



It considers the degree to which behavior is
influenced by social and cultural conditioning

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (20)


Limitations from a Diversity
Perspective


Approach may be excessively individualistic and
insensitive to social factors that cause problems;
however, this is beginning to change



Social injustices may lead clients to feel patronized or
misunderstood if the therapist too quickly conveys
that they have choice in improving their lives



Some clients may prefer more concrete direction

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (21)


Contributions of Existential
Therapy


Existentialists have contributed a new dimension to the
understanding of death, anxiety, guilt, frustration,
loneliness, and alienation



Its emphasis on the human quality of the therapeutic
relationship is a strength



The key concepts of the existential approach can be
integrated into most therapeutic schools

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (22)


Limitations of Existential
Psychotherapy (slide 1 of 2)


The individualistic focus may not fit within the world
views of clients from a collectivistic culture



The focus on self-determination may not fully account
for real-life limitations of those who are oppressed and
have limited choices



Some clients prefer a more directive approach to
counseling

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Chapter 6 (23)


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