An existentially informed approach to psychotherapy and counselling is one which is concerned with helping you to arrive at your own insights and to make the choices and decisions which you feel are right for you rather than attempting to “cure” or change behaviour which may in fact be fundamental to your way of living. The existential approach emphasises the need that each of us has, to find our own inner balance and to live life in accordance with our own deeply held values and beliefs rather than those of others.
Questioning the Medical Model
The existential approach prefers to see the problems and issues, which give rise to distress, as the consequence of difficulties encountered in living rather than as indicators of mental illness or sickness. In fact, it calls into question many of the assumptions, which underpin the more medically informed approaches to therapy.
Overcoming Issues with the Existential Approach to Therapy
Perhaps more than anything else, an existential approach emphasises your personal autonomy; in other words, the freedom you have to make choices and decisions, which can greatly alter and shape the path of your life. Of course taking responsibility, by facing up to our difficulties and making changes, can be extremely daunting. Consequently, we sometimes prefer to cling on to the beliefs, assumptions and ultimately behaviour which are so often the cause of our unhappiness, rather than face the anxiety, which change, can bring.
The Aim of Existential Therapy
My role is to support you through this process and to help you to become better able to deal with the challenges ahead. Stepping out of our comfort zone is never easy but by learning how to stay with and even embrace difficult feelings and emotions, you put yourself in a far stronger position to move forward with your life in a positive way. My aim is to help you to become better acquainted with yourself. We will do this together by exploring the various contradictions, discrepancies and paradoxes that often make attempts to understand ourselves so difficult. Through this process, you can come to understand yourself better which puts you in a far stronger position to resolve the issues with which you are struggling.