Tenets of Existential Theory

Tenetsof Existential Theory

Tenetsof Existential Theory

Theexperience of pain is a common and shared one across all types ofindividuals irrespective of their ways of life. Indeed, human beingsmust go through some form of pain, whether it is physical, emotional,and psychological among others. This has forced scholars andresearchers to come up with strategies and techniques through whichthey would alleviate human suffering and allow for higher quality oflife (Corey et al, 2013). On the same note, numerous theories havebeen crafted regarding this aspect with the aim of coming up with anexplanation of the foundations of pain and how to eliminate it, oneof which is the existential theory.

Theexistential theory underlines a type of psychological counseling thathas its basis in the philosophies and ideals of existentialism orrather the philosophy of fundamental human existence. Existentialismstates that human beings are thrown into existence and are incapableof full comprehension of how or why they exist. Further, human beingsexperience death, meaninglessness and isolation, which are seen asabsolute givens in the existence of human beings that eventuallycause all people to suffer a number of times in their lives (Corey etal, 2013). Suffering is primarily manifested through anxiety andexpressed through depression, frustration and anger. The existentialtherapy addresses suffering and pain in human beings by assistingthem in comprehending pain and coming up with ways for alleviatingit. Its main focus is on the establishment of self-understanding andself-awareness since the existential therapy states that every personis responsible for establishing or creating the circumstances of hisor her life and even finding the true meaning of his or her lifeexperiences.

Existentialtherapy underlines the notion that there exists four fundamentaldimensions pertaining to human existence including spiritual,psychological, social and physical. Individuals first relate to theirphysical environment, which is the world of bodily needs. This worldcomes with desires, relief, nature, and sleep/awake cycles, as wellas physical feelings, death and birth. The social realm incorporateseverything pertaining to relationships including language, culture,society, attitudes towards authority, family, race and work, as wellas romantic relationships and emotions and friendships (Corey et al,2013). The psychological real underlines the manner in whichindividuals relate to themselves and their personal sense ofidentity, while the spiritual dimensions have everything to do withtheir attitudes towards the things that they have no propercomprehension of and the manner in which they assign meaning to theirexperiences (Scalzo et al, 2012). Included within the psychologicalrealm are aspects such as identity, personal weaknesses andstrengths, authenticity and intimacy, while the spiritual realmincorporates aspects such as beliefs, values and transformation.

Thereare four core therapeutic techniques incorporated in this theory.First, there is the cultivation of the naïve attitude. In thisregard, the therapist is allowed to take on a naïve form that wouldgive the patient the capacity to explicitly come up with his or herown themes and values in life. Second, there is the facinglimitations technique. This implies that the therapist would have tooffer the patients the assistance required so as to face the givensidentified in existentialism head on (Corey et al, 2013). Thesegivens may be presented as guilt emanating from the consequences ofthe actions and choices that an individual makes or even as anxietyemanating from the numerous uncertainties in his or her life. Thethird technique involves the exploration of a personal world view,which implies that that therapist would guide the patient in thecourse of discovery of the world in line with the distinctiveinteractions and interpretations of the same (Scalzo et al, 2012).The last technique involves inquiry into the implications or meaning.In this regard, the therapist would carefully listen to the words ofthe patient before guiding him or her in exploring the beliefs andemotions in an effort to give meaning to the experiences throughwhich the individual is going.

Oneof the most notable things about the theory is the fact that the painthat an individual experiences is primarily shaped by the manner inwhich he or she perceives a particular situation. This is the primaryreason why psychologists or therapists must listen to the patientbefore placing what they have to say in context or ratherunderstanding the experiences (Langdridge, 2013). Given thatindividuals interpret particular episodes with regard to theirexperiences, it goes without saying that the perception of the thingsthat are happening around them and to them is not always accurate.Indeed, what individuals comprehend about particular statements maynot be the message or what the other person meant to say (Scalzo etal, 2012). This may be determined by the state of mind of anindividual, the experiences that he or she has had in the past, aswell as the arrangement of words as told by the speaker. In essence,it is imperative that the words used by a patient are carefullyanalyzed to determine the message and come up with the appropriatecounseling techniques.


Corey,G., &amp California State University. (2013). Theoryand practice of counseling and psychotherapy.Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth.

Langdridge,D. (2013). Existentialcounselling and psychotherapy. Los Angeles London : SAGE

Scalzo,C., &amp United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy. (2012). Therapywith children: An existential perspective.London: Karnac.