Counseling: Existential and humanistic
Terms in this set (43)
Therapies emphasize the individual as the "author" of their life
Followed psychodynamic theories, temporally
Proposed that people are essentially trustworthy and good
Originator of: Carl Rogers
spent a lot of time reading and in his own imagination
created client centered therapy (humanistic)
Basic idea: to help an individual grow by facilitating self-generated processes
Therapist must trust that the client has the ability to move forward in life
Three attributes of a therapist lead to a growth-promoting environment:
2. unconditional positive regard
3. accurate empathic understanding
According to client centered theory develops when:
they are rigid in the belief they hold (constructs)
they do not listen to past experience, and
they are thus not able to grow or change
Rather than listening to their experience, they are putting value judgments on themselves and on their perspectives.
Organismic valuing process
innate tendency to make sense of the world through individual assessment of one's experiences
unconditional positive regard
a caring, accepting, nonjudgmental attitude, which Carl Rogers believed would help clients to develop self-awareness and self-acceptance
conditions of worth
according to Rogers, expectations we place on ourselves for appropriate and inappropriate behavior
goals of client-centered therapy
foster a greater degree of independence of the individual
the individual must understand and accept themselves
to provide an environment that helps the individual become self actualized
focus of client centered therapy
On the person, not the presenting problem
To assist the clients in their growth processes so they can not only cope in the present and future
No set therapy goals
instead, the client is believed to have the capacity to define and clarify their own goals within the client-therapist relationship
the process by which people achieve their full potential
Must understand the different facades that each client wears.
As the facades are worn away, client becomes increasingly actualized. This means they,
(1) have an openness to experience,
(2) a trust in themselves,
(3) an internal source of evaluation, and
(4) a willingness to continue growing.
client centered therapists will not
Give advice or offer suggestions to solve clients' problems
Give advice or offer suggestions about strategies for living
Judge or condemn the individual
Develop treatment plans—instead, they rely on the client to know where to go during sessions, what goals to have, and when treatment will end
Interpret client's experiences for them
Premises for personal growth
Premise 1: Multiple Realities—There are many possible personal realities.
Premise 2: Acceptance—If the personal reality of an individual is respected by others, basic trust can develop, and personal growth can then occur.
Therapist's role in client centered therapy
First and foremost, must be willing to be real with a client.
use themselves as the "instrument of change"
must be without roles when interacting with the client
believe in the client's ability to create growth using the client's own inner resources.
tries to be present and accessible to clients, focusing on their immediate experiences.
therapist will reflect back to the client what they are saying.
important to have a good therapeutic relationship with the client (Rogers)
The qualities are:
1. Congruence/Genuineness (honesty, authenticity, openness, self-disclosure)
2. Unconditional positive regard/Nonpossessive warmth (prizing, acceptance, respect, caring, love)
3. Empathic understanding (understanding another person's point of view)
Decentering is the ability to "walk in someone else's shoes" and imagine what their perspective is
Reflective listening becomes important to ensure our empathic understanding is accurate
genuineness or realness
Humanistic psychologist known for his "Hierarchy of Needs" and the concept of "self-actualization"
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
One MUST satisfy lower-level needs before being able to move on to higher-level needs. Maslow believed all individuals are capable and have a desire to try and move up in the hierarchy. However, progress is stopped by failure in the lower levels.
Experiences in life can also create fluctuations between the various levels (examples: loss of job, loss of spouse).
Maslow believed only one in 100 people become fully self-actualized. This is due to society rewarding an individual rather than an individual looking towards their own internal motivation.
hierarchy of needs
physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, self-actualization
Born from philosophy
A phenomenological philosophy of "humanness"
Humans are in a constant state of transition, evolving and becoming
Clients are searching for meaning in their subjective worlds
"Who am I?"
"I will die."
"What does it all mean?"
"Will I die alone?"
"How am I going to get to where I want to be in my life?"
The human condition
The capacity for self-awareness
The tension between freedom & responsibility
The creation of an identity & establishing meaningful relationships
The search for meaning
Accepting anxiety as a condition of living
The awareness of death and nonbeing
The greater our awareness
the greater our possibilities for freedom
Awareness is realizing that:
We are finite--time is limited
We have the choice to act or not to act
Meaning is not automatic--we must seek it
We are subject to loneliness, meaninglessness, emptiness, guilt, and isolation
is "the courage to be"- We must trust ourselves to search within and find our own answers
Our great fear is that we will discover that there is no core, no self
Being existentially "alone" helps us to discover our authentic self
Balancing aloneness and relatedness helps us develop a unique identity and live authentically in the moment
At their best our relationships are based on our desire for fulfillment, not based on deprivation
Relationships that spring from our sense of deprivation are clinging, parasitic, and symbiotic
The search for meaning
Like pleasure, meaning must be pursued obliquely
Finding meaning in life is a by-product of a commitment to creating, loving, and working
"The will to meaning" is our primary striving
Life is not meaningful in itself; the individual must create and discover meaning
Helping clients to accept their freedom and responsibility to act
Assisting people in coming to terms with the crises in their lives
Encouraging clients to recognize the ways in which they are not living fully authentic lives
Inviting clients to become more honest with themselves
Broadening clients' awareness of their choices
Facilitating the client's search for purpose and meaning in life
Assisting clients in developing a deep understanding of themselves and the ways they can effectively communicate with others
NOT technique oriented
therapist-client relationship (Existential)
The person-to-person relationship is key
The relationship demands that therapists be in contact with their own phenomenological world
Have respect and faith in the clients' potential to cope
Share reactions with genuine concern and empathy
When the deepest self of the therapist meets the deepest part of the client, the counseling process is at its best
Phases of existential therapy
Initial phase: Clients are assisted in identifying and clarifying their assumptions about the world
Middle phase: Clients are assisted in more fully examining the source and authority of their present value system
Final phase: Clients are assisted in translating what they have learned about themselves into action
Existential approach: strengths
from a diversity perspective:
The existential approach has appeal to culturally diverse clients since it does not dictate a particular way of viewing or relating to reality
It has a focus on universality, or the common ground that we all share, as well as on subjective experience
It enables clients to examine the degree to which their behavior is being influenced by social and cultural conditioning.
Existential approach: limitations
Some regard the approach excessively individualistic and insensitive to social factors that cause problems; however, this is beginning to change.
The external realities of racism, discrimination, and oppression may lead clients to feel patronized or misunderstood
Some clients may prefer more concrete direction.
Limited empirical support
contributions of existential therapy
Existentialists have contributed a new dimension to the understanding of death, anxiety, guilt, frustration, loneliness, and alienation.
Its emphasis on the human quality of the therapeutic relationship is a strength.
The key concepts of the existential approach can be integrated into most therapeutic schools.
Application of existential therapy to group counseling
Provides an ideal environment for therapeutic work on responsibility:
Clients are responsible for their behavior in group
Group settings provide a mirror of how clients may act in the world
Through feedback members learn to view themselves through another's eyes
Members learn how their behavior affects others
Helps to relate to others in a meaningful way
Learning to experience anxiety as a reality of the human condition
Making choices in the face of uncertainty
Discovering there are no ultimate answers for ultimate concerns
Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
Friedrich Neitzsche (1844-1900)
Martin Heidegger (1889-1976)
Developed logotherapy after experiencing the holocaust to help patients find meaning/purpose in life without medical help.
Developed by Frankl, this brand of existential therapy literally means "healing through reason." It focuses on challenging clients to search for meaning in life.
believed that it took courage to "be," and our choices determine the kind of person we become
His existential approach to therapy focuses on four ultimate human concerns:
(These 4 create anxiety)
He believed that these four "givens of existence" have enormous relevance when doing clinical work with clients
anxiety is normal - life cannot be lived, nor can death be faced, without anxiety
Neurotic anxiety, of which we typically are unaware, is anxiety about concrete things that is out of proportion to the situation
Healthy view of anxiety
Anxiety can be a stimulus for growth as we become aware of and accept our freedom; it can be a catalyst for living authentically and fully
We can blunt our anxiety by creating the illusion that there is security in life
If we have the courage to face ourselves and life we may be frightened, but we will be able to change
use of more techniques within the session than traditional humanistic/existential therapies
These therapies are more likely to:
1. stress activation/experience of emotion
2. focus on how clients are experiencing their lives (not thinking about it)
3. use the imaginative/experiential side of personality
4. use different techniques or exercises to get clients to have new experiences in session
5. focus on the shared experience between the client and counselor
Fritz and Laura Perls
developed Gestalt therapy
The theory states that an individual's behavior needs to be understood by looking at all the interrelationships in a person's life
seeks to increase the client's awareness and perception of sensation.
Therapy emphasizes an individual's self-determination, and with this, their responsibility to self
Specific problems are not looked at during session
The goal of therapy is to increase the client's ability to live in the present moment while being true to themselves
Gestalt Therapy Techniques
The therapist interacts with the client in the here-and-now
The therapist will ask clients to report what they are currently aware of
Therapists will request clients "stay with" a particular feeling or emotion they express
Therapists will ask clients to "play the part" of someone else or of a feeling/emotion (role-play); empty-chair technique
Therapists will also tell a client to repeat something again or louder for the client to fully grasp and own their own experience in the moment
Therapists will have clients substitute the words "I won't" any time they say "I can't"
Therapists will point out inconsistencies in the client's verbal and nonverbal behaviors (body language is more difficult to hide than what the client is actually thinking/feeling)