Career and Job Search Guide

Existential Therapist

It may seem that all counseling and psychological treatment is meant to address existential issues. However, existential therapists utilize different types of therapies when working with their patients. Traditional mental health specialists focus on underlying mental health problems that lead to behavioral and emotional problems; whereas, existential therapists focus on individual morals, personal philosophies and beliefs, and life perspectives.

During an existential therapy session, a therapist does not merely attempt to discover problems and utilize therapy to solve them. Instead, an existential therapist attempts to determine what factors serve as motivation for the individual. In other words, what core values or beliefs does the individual cherish. If an existential therapist is successful in determining the clients' values, then he or she can work to change attitudes and beliefs that conflict with their values. An existential therapist can also recommend that their clients avoid certain settings and behaviors. In fact, once patients are able to recognize the values they cherish, then making changes will be less difficult.

In order to be an effective existential therapist, one must build trust with clients. To do this, a therapist must be empathetic, easy to talk to, and sincere.

Effective existential therapists must also be self-reflecting. In other words, they must be constantly evaluating their own lives and morals. They also recognize that they are not all-knowing, but they take efforts to align their lives with morals and personal qualities they value.

Existential therapy is a great career for people interested in non-traditional forms of counseling and mental health therapy. It is also an excellent career for people who enjoy forming close relationships with others, are interested in the link between belief systems and behavior, and enjoy helping others live more meaningful lives. Those with an interest in the links between philosophy and psychology should consider pursuing a career in existential therapy.