Existential psychotherapy supports the client to make sense of life through the willingness to face it and its problems. The existentialist belief is that life has no essential or predetermined meaning, the individual is entirely free and ultimately responsible, so meaning has to be found or created. This can trigger feelings of meaninglessness in life, thus the therapy explores the client’s experience of the human condition and aims to clarify the individual’s understanding of values and beliefs, explicitly naming what has previously been left unspoken.
The client is supported in living more authentically and purposefully, whilst accepting the limitations and contradictions of what it is to be human.
As a therapy it is regarded as a serious enquiry into what it means to be human, often involving the painful process of squarely facing up to aspects of humanity that are ordinarily avoided and evaded. Existentialist therapists believe that such in depth explorations can ultimately bring great strength and joy.