Existential Therapy: Death, Freedom & Self-Awareness Some people rely on others to validate who they are, and to give them meaning.
However, they must realize that they are alone in this world and they must find meaning from within themselves and not from others. Nevertheless, for many people being alone causes anxiety in which people feel that their life has no meaning. A person can become aware of who they are but not accept who they are while being alone. Existential therapy helps people to look within and find a way to cope with their emotional experiences they have encountered in order to recover from them.When individuals learn to love themselves and be content with themselves, they will then know how to love others. Existential therapy is different from other theories. It is therapy to help people understand that they are the authors of their own life and that they are free to choose how they respond to it.
The important factors of existential therapy are getting the client to find personal meaning and truths. Taking responsibility for any decisions, he/she makes. Being able to live in the present and not the past: getting the client to experience life by living in the moment.Tolerating anxiety, as a part of life, this will reoccur throughout life. Finally, to help clients understand and accept death and a greater gain of self-awareness. Death and Meaning The only absolutes are life and death. Many people give death too much power by fearing it, instead of embracing it.
“Death is often one of the most powerful forces which keeps us from truly living” (Hoffman, 2004). When a person sincerely accepts death, they realize that their purpose in life is to do something meaningful by helping others.By dealing with death through the loss of loved ones and friends, I have learned to appreciate life and use my time here on earth wisely. As a little child, I was always afraid to die, due to my parents dying at a young age. I just knew I would die early too. Eventually after witnessing so many deaths year after year, I could no longer be afraid. The anxiety was so strong at one point I would have nightmares.
, However, after losing my husband I grew to be content with death and love life much harder.Not to just love life but to live for each moment, not looking in the past but looking towards the future, what can I do now to help humanity. If we question ourselves on what we would do if death would come on a certain day, it would sincerely change people’s attitude about dying and change them in a way to live more freely. Moreover, in order to accept death one must find meaning. Meaning asks questions like, who are we, what will we become, and what is our purpose for being here? Unfortunately, it took death and pain to help me realize what my purpose in life was which is helping people.Helping people to cope with their issues gives me more reason to live. Freedom and Responsibility Individuals are free to choose to do good or bad, right or wrong.
Being free means that people are accountable for their own actions and that they have to live with the decisions they make. When we choose to act in a certain way, we should not blame others for the way we act. People have full control over their emotions so we need to take full responsibility for our own actions, how we live our lives, and not make excuses for what we did not do. However, with freedom there is much responsibility.When clients do not want to accept responsibility a counselor will then encourage the client to reflect on his or her life and find meaning and/or their purpose of living. Since we are free, we cannot blame others for our problems. As stated in the eighth edition of the Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (Corey, 2009), while people claim they desire freedom, the existential belief declares that most will try to escape this freedom.
People do this in order to avoid responsibility of making choices, (p. p. 140-141). People have to live for themselves and make their own decisions and to take charge of their lives.If a person commits a crime than that person cannot blame their upbringing or society for being the reasons of committing the crime, they themselves committed the crime so they will suffer the consequences for their actions. Self-Awareness Self-awareness is a person’s ability to know who they are fully. The more we know ourselves the more we grow.
The more we grow the more freedom we have to choose and make good choices. When we are fully aware we can accept that no matter what we have been through in life, those circumstance do not define who we are.Dealing with pain and suffering for many years I have let go of what I experienced (holding on does not help with counseling), however learning to handle situations helped me to react differently and live free from any anxieties. It is up to people to want to progress from their old way of thinking and adapt to a new ones (this is how we make better choices), we cannot get better even with therapy if we do not find a way to do so. Strengths and Weaknesses Existential therapy focuses on the concepts of death, meaning, and purpose, which are all critical issues that play an important part of human existence.Counselors seek to help not train the clients to do better, client’s progress on their own terms. Clients learn to cope with being alone and not seek support from others around them.
It teaches clients to understand anxiety because it will always be a part of our lives but knowing how to deal with it helps make us better people. Counselors are open-mind to different issues and can handle all types of attitudes, beliefs, and experiences. Weaknesses to this type of therapy: Melton (2010) states that, “a major criticism that this approach lacks a systematic statement of the principles and practices of psychotherapy.