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Flashcards in Existential Therapy Deck (70)
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What is unique about existential therapy

It can be integrated with other approaches, but it's not an independent school of therapy


What are the timeless and intractable issues that everyone must confront in existential therapy

The ultimate concerns


What are the ultimate concerns

1. Death
2. Freedom
3. Isolation
4. Meaning


How do existentialists regard people

As meaning making beings who are both subjects of experience and objects of self reflection.


What kind of experience do existentialists focus on? Rather than what? Why?

Authentic experiences rather than artificial explanations. Focus on the subjectivity of experience rather than objective because when experiences are moulded I to a model, they lose their authenticity and become disconnected from the individual


What is the existential dilemma

Although we crave to persist in our being, we are finite creatures



Idea that we all live in a universe without inherent design in which we are the authors of our lives. This freedom carries with it terrifying responsibility and is always linked to dread. We have a lust for submission. We are scared to be responsible for the decisions we make


What is the complement to responsibility



Bad faith

To abrogate our responsibility, is to live inauthentically in bad faith. Because if the dread of our ultimate freedom, people have a lot if defenses


3 kinds of isolation

1. Interpersonal
2. Intrapersonal
3. Existential



Though we are comforted by connections to other humans, we nonetheless enter and leave the world alone and must always manage the tension bw our wish to connect with others and our knowledge of aloneness


What is the difference bw loneliness and aloneness

Loneliness results from geographic, social and cultural factors that support the breakdown of intimacy. Or people may lack the social skills for intimacy

Existential isolation cuts deeper and is a more basic isolation riveted to an unabridgable gulf bw self and others. Most commonly experienced in recognition that ones death is always solitary. Terror of feeling that no one in the world is thinking of them. Accompanying despair of leading an I observed life


According to existentialism, why do many people continue a highly unsatisfying relationship

Crave a life witness, a buffer against the experience of existential isolation


According to Yalom, what is an important milestone in therapy that has to do with existential isolation

Patient's realization that there is a point beyond which the therapist can offer nothing more. In therapy, as in life, there is an inescapable substrate of lonely work and lovely existence



One of our major life tasks is to invent a purpose sturdy enough to support a life. Often throws us into a crisis. Why am I living? I have no passion for anything. If only someone would throw me a stick. Our perceptual psychological organization is such that we instantaneously pattern random stimuli



The awareness of our inevitable demise is the most painful and difficult. Because we cannot live frozen in fear, we generate methods to soften death's terror. Project ourselves into the future through our children, try to grow rich and famous. Our fear of death is a profound dread of nonbeing, the impossibility of further possibility


Therapeutic relationship in existentialism

Fellow traveler's. Even labels of therapist and patient are inappropriate. We are all in this together. Sharing the essence of the human condition becomes the bedrock


Existentialism vs gestalt

Experience of the therapeutic relationship is of great interest given the assumption that change is based on lived experience.


Existentialism vs analytic therapies

Encourages work with dreams and analyzes them in relation to their existential as well as autobiographical themes


Existentialism vs cognitive therapies

Encourages reflection on belief systems and examination of meaning making with an aim of taking responsibility for one's choices and grappling with freedom.

Cognitive restructuring techniques that aim at replacing maladaptive beliefs with personally meaningful values are also consistent with existentialism

But existentialism parts ways with therapies aimed solely at behavioural reduction or elimination of symptoms that rely on manualized treatments. Regards symptoms as signals that mark existential crises and necessitate exploration and is unique to each person


The existential focus of a theory of personality concerns what?

Whether people are living as authentically and meaningfully as possible


How is existential therapy a dynamic therapy

Takes from Freud the model of personality as a system of forces in conflict with one another.


When we speak of the psychodynamics of an individual, what do we mean

We refer to that individual's conflicting conscious and unconscious motives and fears


According to the existential model of personality, what is the basic conflict

Between the individual and the givens


The givens

The ultimate concerns of existence


The existential system replaces the Freudian system if drive --> anxiety --> defense mechanism with what?

Awareness of ultimate concern --> anxiety --> defense mechanism


If we put aside everyday concerns with which we ordinarily full our lives, what happens?

We must confront the dilemmas of he ultimate concerns


According to existentialists, a full understanding of a person involves what

Both knowledge of that person's circumstances (the objective part) and how that person subjectively structures and values those circumstances (the subjective part)


May attributes anxiety to what

The fundamental clash between being and the great of nonbeing


According to existentialism, is anxiety normal or not? When does it intensify?

A certain amount if anxiety is normal and inevitable.

It intensifies when we choose to boldly assert our inner potentials because it bring a a reminder that spend at we will not