“The greatest problem is life…to face life that is so frightening…” — Carl Rogers
Existential psychotherapy focuses on the experience of being. It’s about the experiences where we turn inward into the self and find an identity. It’s about the journey where we search for the meaning of life while moving away from conventionality. It places a strong emphasis on being genuine with the self as well as the actual experience of everyday life. Ultimately, we give meaning to our experience and the physical world, and we are motivated by this pursuit of life.
Existential psychotherapy brings unity to our psychological and philosophical understanding of the human being, including the real, insoluble problems of human life: fear, anxiety, desire, death, loneliness. For example, death (the lack of meaning) teaches us the preciousness and significance of human lives. Increased understanding of these real problems (of being alive) and the self gives us the freedom and courage to become a better person, to live with courage, and to create positive life experiences.
Therapeutic relationships, or any healthy relationships, are growth-promoting. Humanistic psychology proposes that attitudes associated with a positive, constructive change in a person include genuineness, empathy, and unconditional positive regard. In personal growth, we find increased awareness of our present feelings and become more accepting of our present self. A mentally healthy person becomes open to herself, her experience, and the world as it is.
Shall we find a self which we have become and we have lived.
“All lives are different, and some face hardships that others will never know. But we all share the same universe, the same laws of nature, and the same fundamental task of creating meaning and mattering for ourselves and those around us in this brief amount of time we have in this world.” — Sean Carroll.
Sources:A dialogue between Maslow, May, and Rogers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTTqKNI7wDoOn the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe with Sean Carroll: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fq-1l3NglE4