A psychotherapeutic approach whose aim is to enable patients to overcome feelings of meaninglessness by exploring their individual worldviews, accepting their human limitations, and creating a personal system of values. The approach is more philosophic than some other therapies; people must realize the freedom of choice available to them as human beings, and accept full responsibility for the results of their actions.
Some of the goals of this form of therapy include: being present, trying to be more self-aware (so that you can understand things that are wrong), finding meaning on a personal level, dealing with anxiety and learning to take responsibility for one’s decisions.
Example: A psychologist who practices existential therapy spends very little time discussing her client’s life history. Instead, she emphasizes meaningful changes her client can enact in the present and future.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Aug 2010