Often when an individual has experienced a traumatising event or is recovering from an addiction, he may question the value of his life. Existential therapy focuses on the questions that human beings have always asked themselves such as ‘How can I live a worthwhile life?’
Existential therapy focuses on the nature of truth and reality rather than on personality, illness or cure, so rather than thinking about function and dysfunction, it prefers to think in terms of a person’s ability to meet the challenges that life inevitably presents us with.
Action based on experience is everyone’s first language. In this sense, existential therapy is the practical application of philosophy to everyday living. It is about coming to understand and therefore live productively and creatively within the constraints and possibilities of life.
There is no existential personality theory which divides people into types or seeks to label them. Instead there is a description of the different levels of existence with which people from all cultures are confronted in various ways.
The physical dimension; how we relate to our environment and to the givens of the natural world around us.
The Social Dimension; How we relate to others and interact with the public world around us.
The Personal Dimension; The relationship with oneself, having an inner world with views about one’s character, past experience and future possibilities.
The Spiritual Dimension; How we relate to the unknown and thus create a sense of an ideal world and a personal value system. It is here that we find meaning and purpose through reflection.
Existential therapy takes place under the core conditions of mutual respect, genuine interest, empathy and trust.