Existential counselling explores “the big questions” of existence: life and death, loss and gain, identity and purpose. “It is an optimistic approach in that it embraces human potential, while remaining a realistic approach through its recognition of human limitation.” Existentialism and humanism are closely related. They are often seen as one stream of thinking within psychology.
Existential and humanist therapy have some true giants in its midst, most notably Carl Rogers, Rollo May and Irvin Yalom. What they have in common is an inherent, deep respect for the client and his or her life and their dilemmas. This type of approach, like narrative therapy and archetypal psychology, has a profound interest in the depths of the human mind, and its creativity.
An important aspect of this approach is to invite you – the client – to express your experiences, as they appear, in the present moment. What is really happening, inside? How does your body respond to what is transpiring, here and now? This focus on the present moment during the process of individual counselling, and on a true and genuine reflection of the processes inside the mind and its effects on the body (and vice versa) rebuilds the important relationship between you and your own sense of self. You can then restore the relationship between your mind and your body, between your body and your mind. And you revitalise the connection between your self and your immediate surroundings.
This type of experiential awareness of our own life creates a foundation on which to build and grow. Instead of being the actor of your own life, you can become the director, too. By seeing your own responses, by hearing the stories you tell yourself about yourself it becomes possible to create some distance between yourself, your experiences, your emotions and your behaviours.
When you choose to work with existential and experiential methods, you switch off the autopilot of your life. You become more actively involved in choosing the road you want to choose for yourself. You achieve this while having a full appreciation of the responsibilities you have committed yourself to.
In some of my blog posts I go a little bit more into the processes and types of counselling; they might be of interest to you. For example: I wrote a piece about counselling for men, and one about distance counselling for humanitairan workers or journalists, who are often faced with daunting circumstances.
I basically see myself as a storyteller engaged in ideas that have to do with an existential, deeper approach to life.