Define Existentialism and Existential School of Thought in Psychology
“There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time” – David Eagleman
Existential Psychology sees experiences as unique in the context it happens and what individual interprets of them.Existentialism is an empirical science that employs the method of phenomenological existence (I.e. disclosure of the occurrences of behavior in the immediate experience). Martin Heidegger’s fundamental concept of Da-Sein (being – in – the – world) means that humans have their existence by being in the world and the world has its existence because it has beings to disclose it. Its foundations are influenced by Satre’s and Nietze’s belief about the godless world. He emphasized human’s inescapable need, in their struggle against despair and non-being.
Pioneered by personalities like Rollo May, Victor Frankl, and Emmy van Deurzen-Smith, its foundations are based on the assumption that humans are searching for the meaning of life. Existentialist opposes treatment of an individual as a thing or object; instead they consider People as experts about themselves, making this therapy insight-oriented and non-directive. They also share a respect for a person’s subjective experience and a trust in the capacity of the client to make positive and constructive conscious choices.
Quote By Irvin Yalom
The formation of therapeutic relationship is the paramount task in therapy, which is done by techniques like self-disclosure, and increasing one’s awareness about death and finiteness. According to Yalom (1980) psychological problems are embedded in anxiety surrounding the notions of death, freedom, isolation and meaningless. This means that negative life experiences can develop fears of death or failure (loss). Losing free will and accountability as they are reminders of (our) human limitations.
Existential psychology delves more into the darkness of humanity and the understanding of ones limitations It tries to accept them and chooses how we exist with them. It values ability to become responsible for self-direction. Therefore it is possible for a person to adapt positively to their concerns that then initiates growth towards change in their true self.