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Clinicians can use Existential Therapy (ET) worksheets to effectively treat their clients. These worksheets provide clinicians the tools to effectively establish a treatment plan throughout the therapy process.
What is Existential Therapy?
Existential Therapy is a more philosophical therapy style that focuses on the human condition as a whole pertaining to the ideas of free will, and the search for deeper meaning. Focusing on the individuals rather than the characteristics displayed by various mental disabilities, clinicians bring attention to their patients ability to make fruitful choices in life that lead to them living their lives to its fullest potential.
Sharing many practices with styles like humanistic psychology, Existential Therapy has been studied and practiced for many years with origins leading back to the philosophical works of Friedrich Nietzsche and Soren Kierkegaard. Many leading philosophers of their time continued to compound their knowledge of topics related to Existentialism with Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre probing into the value of investigation and interpretation within treatment in the early 1900’s. By the mid 1900’s, existential therapists like Otto Rank spearheaded the sole pursuit of practicing this style prompting leading psychologists like Rollo May and Irvin Yalom to investigate deeper into the discipline and bring more attention to it. By 1965, the Philadelphia Association was founded by RD Laing and his colleagues with an aim to use the ideals of existentialism to help provide people relief of mental illness of all descriptions.
Following, many other more focused organizations were created like the Society for Existential Analysis in 1988 and the International Community of Existential Counselors in 2006.
How Does Existential Therapy Work?
Existential Therapy focuses on specific concerns rooted in the individual’s existence such as, concerns of death, isolation, and freedom and emptiness as stated by Yalom. ET focuses on the anxiety that occurs when a client confronts their conflict in life as the clinician helps the patient focus on personal responsibility for making decisions. Most clinicians view this practice as a collaborative, encouraging and explorative dialogue between two equal, struggling humans in which one is seeking advice and one who is trained to provide it. The goal of existential therapy is to create an honest, supportive, empathetic and challenging relationship between the clinician and patient that will encourage the patient to feel comfortable to explore how here-and-now emotions along with dynamic interactions with the clinician and others help to shine light on past experiences, current events, and future expectations.
ET differs from common treatments as clinicians relate regularly distressing symptoms such as anxiety and rage to being a more meaningful and understandable reaction to the current circumstances presented. Through this process of discovery, patients obtain a more conducive understanding of their experiences and subjective conclusions associated with them. Helping clients come to terms with their own existence, they ultimately develop the courage to find adaptive ways to live in the present thus providing a more satisfying and meaningful future.
Which Conditions can Existential Therapy Treat?
Existential therapy is a broad, adaptably treatment that is just as commonly paired with other treatment styles as it is used by itself. ET has been found to be effective in treating people whose mental and emotional disorders cause them to question their ability to make meaningful choices in their life. Clinicians aim to alleviate symptoms such as:
- Excessive anxiety
While existential therapy has been seen to be an effective treatment for many different mental conditions, studies have shown ET is very effective for people who are chronically ill, incarcerated and living in care homes. In regards to addiction and incarceration patients, ET’s emphasis on positive choices can help those suffering make healthier, more self-aware decisions.
How Effective is Existential Therapy?
Recent studies have shown that ET can be incredibly beneficial to patients seeking to improve their attitude towards life and self-flourishing decision making. ET is not designed to be either a long-term or short-term treatment as treatment length and intensity are adjusted to the needs and goals of the patient. Existential therapy and existentialism have been explored and practiced for many decades and have been found to be incredibly effective in a multitude of applications, yet, many people still see considerable limitations and concerns regarding this treatment style; Most of which of these cases stem from a lack of knowledge about the processes as expressed in the following examples and their combated reality :
limitations/Concerns and the Reality Behind Them.
- One universal existential theory that covers all ideals and assumptions of existential psychology. Most scholars and clinicians agree on at least 5 categories to this approach; rendering ET a more broad and adaptive approach to treatment in comparison to more unfaceted approaches to treatment.
- There is no difference between existential psychology and existential philosophy. While they do share some core beliefs, existential philosophy and psychology differ in the varying perspectives of the originators that grew to further separate the two disciplines.
- Existential psychology is anti-religious. With many of its pioneers identifying within the Christian faith, clinicians are careful to make a clear separation between the healthy discouraging of one innately following another one person or religion and promoting anti religious viewpoints.
- Existential and humanistic theories are the same thing. While in general agreement in overall thought, there are many disagreements between these two schools of thought pertaining to degrees of emphasis on certain ideals.
- Existential therapy takes on a pessimistic view of life. Some people feel that some of the core ideals of existential psychology like the experience of suffering should be embraced can be seen as dark but that is a general misunderstanding. Clinicians don’t encourage suffering in itself, rather than acceptance of its inevitability.
Final Thoughts on Existential Therapy
Existential therapy is an effective therapy style that aims to help those suffering with the acceptance of perceived harsh realities of life. With its origins predating the early 1900’s, existentialism and its implantation within ET has been studied at a rapid rate and yields astounding results in its ability to improve patients attitude towards life and fruitful decision making. While there are many misconceptions about this therapy style, ET is a positive, forward thinking process of acceptance that promotes self-awareness in its patients.
Existential therapy aims to help clients accept and overcome the existential fears we all face as human beings. These fears can include: Isolation, meaninglessness, death, freedom and responsibility, and many more topics.
Existential therapy focuses on free will, self-determination, and a search for meaning. This type of therapy puts an emphasis on a client’s capacity to make rational choices and to develop their maximum potential. Existential therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions including: Anxiety, anger, apathy, alienation, avoidance, addiction, despair, depression, guilt, embitterment, rage, nihilism, purposelessness, psychosis, and many more.
Why Existential Therapy Worksheets?
Existential Therapy worksheets are tools used in therapy to help individuals explore and find meaning in their lives. Existential therapy is a philosophical approach to therapy that focuses on understanding and addressing the unique challenges that individuals face as they seek to find meaning in their existence.
Some of the key benefits of using Existential Therapy worksheets include:
- Exploration of existential themes: Existential Therapy worksheets provide a structured approach to exploring existential themes, such as death, meaning, freedom, and isolation. By examining these themes, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of their own values and beliefs and develop a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
- Development of self-awareness: Existential Therapy worksheets help individuals to become more self-aware and reflective, allowing them to better understand their own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This increased self-awareness can lead to a greater sense of purpose and meaning in life.
- Identification of personal values: Existential Therapy worksheets can help individuals to identify their personal values and beliefs, which can provide a foundation for making decisions and living a more meaningful life.
- Development of coping skills: Existential Therapy worksheets provide individuals with coping skills and strategies to manage the anxieties and uncertainties that are often associated with the search for meaning and purpose.
Overall, Existential Therapy worksheets provide a valuable tool for individuals looking to explore and find meaning in their lives. By providing a structured and organized way to examine existential themes, develop self-awareness, identify personal values, and develop coping skills, individuals can lead a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
Why Our Existential Therapy Worksheets?
Our Existential Therapy worksheets are designed to help practitioners deliver Existential Therapy to their clients more effectively.
Benefits of our Existential Therapy Worksheets:
- Take in responses from clients on a digital device like a computer
- Organize client documents in an easy to find folder on your computer or in the cloud
- Search for specific questions and/or answers by using “CTRL + f” function on your keyboard when viewing your PDF
- Legibly read your client’s answers
- Print copies that are high in quality – (we made this form grey on purpose! Much easier on your printer)
Key Features of Our Existential Therapy Worksheets:
- US letter size (8.5″ x 11″)
- Fillable / Printable
- Editable (If you need to make changes, we can provide you with a free editing website that will allow you to make changes to questions/statements)
- Longform responses
- Short form responses
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