Definition of Existential TherapyOne survey taken by Corey suggests a definition of Existential Therapyinclude two key elements:Existential Therapy is essentially an approach to counseling and therapyrather than a firm theoretical model, it stresses core human conditions.Normally, personality development is based on the uniqueness of eachindividual.
Sense of self develops from infancy. Self determination and atendency toward growth are control ideas. Focus is on the present and on whatone is becoming; that is the approach has a future orientation. It stressesself-awareness before action.(1996, p.465)In layman terms, Existential therapy can be described as a philosophicalapproach that is not designed to cure people but instead help the client reflectand search for value and meaning in life. Existential Therapy does not supply acookbook of methods like other approaches but instead it provides a frameworkthat is adaptable to the therapist, in which to view the individual and theworld in which they participate.
Definition of Person-Centered (Client-Centered) TherapyAccording to Mosby’s Medical, Nursing, and Allied Health Dictionary,client-centered therapy is a non directive method of group or individualpsychotherapy, originated by Carl Rogers, in which the role of the therapist isto listen to and reflect or restate without judgment or interpretation the wordsof the client.Objectives of Existential TherapyThe objectives of Existential Therapy are quite unique. Existentialcounselors are focused on helping the client achieve and expand their self-awareness. Many Therapist assume once self awareness is achieved, the clientcan examine new ways of dealing with problems and except the responsibility ofchoosing.Objectives of Client-centered TherapyThe objective of client-centered therapy is to assist the client toexperience self exploration, so that they can identify problems that arehindering their growth process.
Essentially, the main goal of client-centeredtherapy is to have the client achieve a sense of increased awareness andunderstanding of his attitudes, feelings, and behaviors.Professional OpinionsExistential and client-centered therapy have been criticized for notbeing scientific enough. They have been down played as not being empiricaland not having a therapeutic model that is firmly set in stone with a set ofmethods and interventions. A large number of therapist feel that Existentialand client-centered therapy are not sound therapeutic approaches for treatingand diagnosing adolescents. One main reason for this argument is theexistential view toward adolescence.
Existentialist view adolescence as a timewhen a young person begins to gain a sense of awareness on a surface level.After achieving this level, the adolescent gradually starts to focus on selfmeaning, which takes place through the development of their identity(Hacker,1994). Existentialist also believe that how the individual conceptilizes deathplays a part in the whole being of the person. A survey of 82 students revealedpeople viewed death as cold and denied. This information indicates death isvery influencial in creating anxiety in people (Westman, 1992, p. 1064).Existential and client-centered therapy have not labeled themselves witha distinct clinical procedure, instead these techniques and concepts have beeneffective in helping patients to recognize and accomplish their goals.
For this reason, I believe existential thought coupled with client-centeredtherapy are appropriate in treating clients who confront some type of obstacleor major event in their life (confronting death, sudden isolation, changing fromchildhood to adolescence). David Cain(1993), a person-centered therapist,believes client-centered therapy is not a wise decision for treating clients insome cases, he sites that due to the lack of evolution of Client-centeredtherapy and the client-centered community’s unwillingness to change with theadvancements of counseling and psychotherapy has limited the therapeuticapproach.On the otherhand, therapist Philip Kendall and Michael A.
Southam-Gerow,seem to recognize the importance of client-centered therapy. Kendall andSoutham-Gerow conducted a study which examined the long-term effects ofpsychosocial treatment for anxiety disordered youth, which they evaluated thelong term effects and the effective components of the treatment.The results from the study revealed that children and adolescent clientstreated two to five years earlier with psychotherapy retained their gains overanxiety related disorders(p 728).Kendall noted the lack of anxiety related problems could have resultedfrom the clients maturation and not the long-term effects of therapy. Thisevidence alone exhibits just one aspect of the tremendous effects of client-centered psychotherapy. The study also demonstrated the variety of techniquesused with the clients, which ranged from relaxation exercises to role playing.Another ongoing criticism of the two dynamic approaches to therapy isgender plays a major role in the outcome of therapy.
Researchers (Porter, Cox,Williams, Wagner, & Johnson, 1996.) have provided research to argue this point.They conducted a study, which a Client-Behavioral system was used toevaluate the therapeutic process with 27 sexually abused girls who were enrolledin individual counseling, the study revealed that when sexual abuse was formallytaught that the girls were more likely to answer with abuse related answers inresponse to child abuse questions, regardless of whether the counselor was maleor female.Summary and ConclusionOne can see from the material provided that there are some recurringthemes in the areas of client-centered and existential psychology: The searchfor meaning and value in life, self-awareness, and behavior. While existentialand client-centered roots are planted firmly in philosophical and humanisticstyles of thinking without clear evidence of any scientific model,existentialism and client-centered therapy offers the science of psychology apath much different than the other approaches to therapy that seek only ascientific outcome. Existential and client-centered offer a alternative form oftherapy, a phenomenological approach to the person, not a look at the instinctsof the person, not a separation of the id, the ego, and superego, but a view ofthe entire being in the now.The drawbacks of existential and client-centered therapy have beenstated as a basic lack of pure scientific methodology.
These two approaches donot offer a textbook of how to techniques, but instead they offer a viewpoint,a lens, a way of picturing the person and the world in which they live. Itoffers a way to view oneself, as a therapist, a motivator, and as a helper.They do not however, offer a fix-all to every problem, rather they seek to helpthe client realize responsibility for their actions and thoughts while helpingthe client gain a deep sense of awareness and trust in themselves in thetherapeutic relationship.BibliographyCain, D. J. (1993).The uncertain future of client-centered counseling.Journal of Humanistic Education and Development.
31 (3), 133-138.Client-Centered Therapy Dictionary Definition. Mosby’s Medical, Nursing, andAllied Health Dictionary. CD-ROM Abstract from: Health Reference Center.
FileNumber: 00009108.Corey, G. (1996). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. (Rev.
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(1994). An Existential View of Adolescence. Journal of EarlyAdolescence. 14.
(3), 300-327.Kendall, P., ; Southam-Gerow, M.(1996). Long-term follow-up of a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety-Disordered Youth. Journal of Consulting andClinical Psychology. 64.
(4), 724-730.Porter, R. L., Wagner W., Johnson, J., ; Cox, L.
M. (1996). Sexually abusedgirls’ verbalizations in counseling: an application of the client behaviorsystem.CD-ROM. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 43. (4), 383-389.
Abstract from:Health Reference Center. File Number: 18987461.Westman, A. S., (1992). Existential Anxiety as Related to Conceptualization ofSelf and of Death, Denial of Death, and Religiosity. Psychological Reports.
71.1064-1066.AbstractThis paper examined two philosophical and humanistic approaches I have chosenas my rationale to counseling and psychotherapy. The paper will define andexplain the objectives and techniques of these two dynamic therapies.Furthermore, it will illustrate existential and client-centered therapy’simportance in regards to treating adolescence.Category: Philosophy