Loading...

PSYCH404: Psychotherapy

Unit 3: Existential Therapy   Existential theory grew out of the existential philosophy movement. This model views mental disorders as problems relating to the basic condition of human existence. This may sound vague and daunting, but the approach is generally used only to treat problems that individuals have with creating meaning, assuming responsibility, and handling freedom or choice. While not highly favored in the United States, where other forms of therapy (like psychoanalytic therapy) are more popular, existential therapy is often practiced in Europe. This unit will discuss the tenets of existential philosophy and explain how practitioners derive therapy approaches from them in order to treat mental disorders.

Unit 3 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 6 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3: 1 hour

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- describe the existential philosophical approach and how this relates to existential theory; - describe the therapeutic process in existential therapy; and - compare and contrast this therapy with psychoanalytic therapy.

3.1 The Existential Philosophical Approach   3.1.1 The Rejection of Determinism   - Reading: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s “Existentialism” Link: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s “Existentialism” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this entry on existentialism. We will revisit this concept in the next section on existential theory. Note this reading applies to subunits 3.1.1-3.1.5.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.1.2 The Importance of Choice   3.1.3 The Responsibility of Freedom   3.1.4 The Search for Value and Meaning in Life   3.1.5 The Capacity for Self-Awareness   3.2 Existential Theory   - Reading: Existential-therapy.com: Louis Hoffman, PhD’s “Common Misconceptions of Existential Therapy” Link: Existential-therapy.com: Louis Hoffman, PhD’s “Common Misconceptions of Existential Therapy
 
Instructions: After clicking on the above link, read through the associated webpage for a discussion of common misconceptions about existentialism.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.2 Freedom and Responsibility   - Reading: Existential-therapy.com: Louis Hoffman, PhD’s “Existential Psychotherapy: A General Overview” Link: Existential-therapy.com: Louis Hoffman, PhD’s “Existential Psychotherapy: A General Overview” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this general overview of existential psychotherapy and then click on and read through each of the five existential themes the author has identified near the bottom of the page. Each of the five themes applies to the five units in 3.2.2-3.2.6. Pay particular attention to the role that existential anxiety plays in everyday life and psychopathology, the importance of the search for meaning, and the difficulties that come with freedom and choice.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.3 Death and Anxiety   3.2.4 The Search for Connection   3.2.5 Meaningless vs. Meaning   3.2.6 Emotions   3.3 The Therapeutic Process   - Web Media: iTunes Podcast: American Counseling Association’s Podcast Series: “HT014–Existential Therapy” Link: iTunes Podcast: American Counseling Association’s Podcast Series: “HT014–Existential Therapy” (Mp3)
 
Also available in:

[iTunes](http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ht014-existential-therapy/id288394528?i=64266107)  
    
 Instructions: Listen to the interview with Dr. Gerald Corey, a
respected therapist and author, on existential therapy. Note that
this applies to subunits 3.3.1-3.3.6.  

 Listening to this lecture should take approximately 1 hour.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.3.1 Relevance of Themes to Practice   3.3.2 Underlying Anxiety in Clients   3.3.3 Restricted Existence   3.3.4 Integration of Other Approaches   3.3.5 Importance of Genuineness in Existential Therapy   3.3.6 Existential Therapy and Short-Term Therapy, Group Work