Existential therapy

Existential Therapy in Exeter, Devon
Death Valley, USA
My philosophy is underpinned with an existential frame of reference.  Many of the issues brought into the therapy room can have, when picked apart, a fundamental struggle with existence at it’s core. 

I am greatly influenced by the work of Irvin D Yalom who has written extensively (in fiction as well as non-fiction format) about the therapeutic process. It is Yalom's "...primary clinical assumption...that basic anxiety emerges from a person's endeavours, conscious and unconscious, to cope with the harsh facts of life, the 'givens' of existence."*

He cites the givens thus: "the inevitability of death for each of us and for those we love; the freedom to make our lives as we will; our ultimate aloneness; and, finally, the absence of any obvious meaning or sense to life."

Far from being a negative outlook on the human condition, Yalom goes on to say "However grim these givens may seem, they contain the seeds of wisdom and redemption...it is possible to confront the truths of existence and harness their power in the service of personal change and growth."

Although many clients do not need or want to “go there” I recognise that some do. I do not have the ultimate truth, if there is such a thing, but because I have experienced my own existential journeying I can help client’s find their truth and their meaning and I can accompany them on their journey.

As part of my dedication to personal and professional development I was privileged enough to be able to arrange a consultation with Yalom whilst travelling in America. It proved to be a most insightful, inspiring and educative experience.

Link to Wikipedia entry for Existential therapy

Link to post on session with Irvin Yalom

Link to book review - Existential Psychotherapy by Irvin Yalom

Link to book review - Staring at the Sun by Irvin Yalom (on death anxiety)

*Ref: Love's Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy, Irvin D Yalom, 1989

(Photo of Death Valley property of Amanda Williamson)

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but in the case of therapists lifting content directly from other therapists' websites I reckon that this is not good for our clients and does not reflect well on either ourselves as practitioners with integrity nor the profession as a whole. We all take inspiration from other professionals but please at least change some of the words and sentences around. I am proud of the content of my website which has been carefully constructed over many years of practice and have been concerned to see some of my site lifted almost word for word on other therapist sites. 

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