Existentialist Therapy : Moderating Life 's Journey

1752 WordsNov 21, 20148 Pages
Existentialist Therapy: Moderating Life’s Journey Sara Schaedel National Louis University Existentialist Therapy: Moderating Life’s Journey “Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself.” (1957, p. 1) Jean-Paul Sartre, one of the original existentialist philosophers inspired scholars like Viktor Frankl to develop a therapeutic form of counseling that facilitates cooperatively helping clients discover their true purpose in life to find meaning. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” (1993, p. 33) In this sentence, Frankl, who became one of the founders of existential therapy, summed…show more content…
This work became the first piece of literature that actually defined existentialism as existentialism and became a cornerstone in the development of existentialist therapy. Prior to Sartre, Friedrich Nietzsche “was not a systematic philosopher but rather a moralist who passionately rejected Western bourgeois civilization.” (Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, 2013, p.1). This passionate rejection of Western bourgeois civilization lead him to develop his “will to power” philosophy. Nietzsche was said to have been inspired by the angst-laden Danish Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. Gerald Corey best summed up the contributions of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard stating that “their pioneering analyses of anxiety, depression, subjectivity, and the authentic self, together are generally considered to be the originators of the existential perspective.” (P. 141) It is the philosophies of individual appreciation, discovery and development presented by Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre and other thinkers that inspired future therapists to develop their own existentialism-based method of counseling. In the mid 1900’s Viktor Frankl emerged after several years in the Auschwitz Nazi Death Camp as one of the founders of Existential Therapy. He was the developer of logotherapy: “therapy through meaning”. (Book cite here) Drawing on his experiences prior to and surviving the death camp, he worked with clients to help make the best of their lives no matter the circumstance. In his
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