When you become a teenager, you may start thinking about the meaning of life. Why are you here? It’s a natural question that you ask yourself: What is your purpose? What are you here to accomplish? These are questions that existentialism, a movement in philosophy, strives to answer. When you hear “existential therapy,” you might think that it’s the same thing as existential philosophy, but it isn’t. Existential therapy helps you focus on healing yourself in the crazy world that we live in, and that’s not easy. You might think that you can’t get over the human condition of being lonely, but existential therapy techniques help you work through that as well as many similar qualms. It’s difficult to feel at peace with ourselves when we want a human connection. When you feel misunderstood, that can contribute to loneliness. Sometimes all you want is someone to tell you that you’re not alone and that they care about how you feel. They don’t have to “get it,” but knowing that they care means a lot.
What are existential therapy techniques?
You might think that existential therapy is about pondering your existence, but there’s more to it than that. You’re learning to cope with life by remembering that you’re part of a big universe. It’s not just you, and that’s comforting. One of the things that you learn in existential therapy is to accept the human condition that we are all born into this world alone and we can feel united in our loneliness. It might sound like a paradox, but it’s true. When you feel alone, remember that there are other people out there feeling the same emotions. Existential therapy is both philosophical and therapeutic. It challenges the client to look inward and ask profound questions.
Anxiety can feel debilitating. When you live with panic attacks or Generalized Anxiety Disorder, you might feel out of control at times. That’s completely understandable; however, there are ways you can help yourself feel better. Focus on what you can do. There are techniques in existential therapy that help a client confront their inner turmoil and phobias. You might wonder if there’s something wrong with you because you have an extreme fear of dying, for example. This kind of fear is a part of being a human being, and you can confront this in existential therapy. You might want to understand the meaning behind death: what does it mean to you to die? Once you’re able to understand the concept, your anxiety could be alleviated. It’s not going to be easy to confront these fears, but it is possible.
Finding meaning in the world
When you work with an existential therapist, one of the goals is to find meaning in the world. You might not know why you’re here, and that’s okay. Life is an exploration. Viktor Frankl wrote a book called Man’s Search For Meaning, and in that book, he developed logotherapy. “Logo” is the Greek word for meaning. Frankl was influential in the existential movement. In Man’s Search For Meaning, he talks about his experiences in the Nazi concentration camps and how he learned that there was meaning to life when faced with death and grief. One of the things that Frankl defined in logotherapy is that when we become so self-absorbed, it’s detrimental to us because we don’t see the more significant meaning in things. It’s important to deflect from being absorbed in oneself and look at the bigger picture.
Finding therapy that works
The goal of starting therapy is finding a type of mental health treatment that will help you on your road to stability and mental wellness. Maybe existential therapy sounds great and like something that can help you on your journey. You can find existential therapists in your local area or work with an online therapist. Making sure that the therapist is well-versed in existentialism is crucial. Even though existential therapy and existential philosophy differ, they do intersect. Your therapist needs to know about the philosophical movement so that they can effectively treat you. You don’t have to worry about whether life has meaning or not. If you’re pursuing existential therapy you’ll find out soon enough.
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