Perhaps you’ve spent years searching for lasting relief from your mood or anxiety nightmare. Maybe you’re just getting started. My advice? Always consider the power of the basics – first. This go-round, we’ll dig-in to “existential awareness”…
EP submits the existence of anxiety comes along for the ‘being human’ ride. And coming to terms with it is required to live authentically.
Look, the whole treatment thing has become so complex anymore. I mean, in addition to all sorts of drugs, therapies, and supplements, there are insurance and care providers telling us what we can or can’t do. And so many more disruptive actors.
Fact is, the road to wellness has become far too circuitous. All the more reason to look to the power of the basics.
Existential Awareness & Psychotherapy
In an effort to truly understand the relief power of existential awareness, we’re going to work within the context of existential psychotherapy (EP). Now, I’m not making a formal recommendation, as it isn’t for everyone. But what it assumes and encourages is choice material to pull from and apply – within.
Gotta’ tell you, this piece is based upon the entry on Existential Psychotherapy on GoodTherapy.org. It’s really good. I’ll pop you a link at the end.
Okay, let’s go…
Existential Psychotherapy Essentials
Grounded in the work of 19th century philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Soren Kierkegaard, EP was developed and brought into the mainstream by the likes of Otto Rank, Rollo May, and Irvin Yalom. It even contributed to other theories, such as Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy.
At its core, EP is about free will, self-determination, responsibility, and the search for life’s meaning. By the way, EP submits there’s no inherent meaning of life, so it’s up to us to find it. And so the emphasis is on our capacity to make rational choices and develop to our maximum potential.
EP assumes that each of us are unique individuals in accordance with the choices we make. And it calls upon us to utilize those choices in “remaking” ourselves on an ongoing basis. That’s essential because the meaning of life is forever changing.
Finally, EP submits the existence of anxiety comes along for the “being human” ride. And coming to terms with it is required to live authentically.
As you can see, EPs emphasis is on our psyche, not our symptoms.
The Existential Fears
There’s one more portion of EP we need to review, and it’s just huge. EP asks us to accept and overcome four existential fears that accompany being human…
- Freedom and associated responsibility
Bottom-line: EP submits If we can’t accept and find a way of living with these realities, we’ll never live authentically. In fact, confrontation with any of them generates a very specific type of dread known as existential anxiety.
Here’s a great example, using death, from the GoodTherapy piece…
The key is to strike a balance between being aware of death without being overwhelmed by it. People who maintain a healthy balance in this way are motivated to make decisions that can positively impact the lives of their loved ones. Though these people may not know how their decisions will actually turn out, they do appreciate the need to take action while they can. In essence, the reality of death encourages us to make the most of opportunities and to treasure the things we have.
Keep in mind, each of us will experience some degree of intrapsychic conflict as a result of interacting with the four existential fears. That’s expected.
Tying It All Together
So let’s pull all of this together. What’s my point?
Early in my disorder management experience I learned to, first, look to the most foundational issues (the basics) for insight and relief. And what I found was that processing and doing my best to resolve these issues often removed associated unpleasantries, as well.
I mean, the approach gave me the biggest bang for my buck.
Of course, I’d have no idea if existential awareness, with its fears and anxiety, is at the root of what ails you. However, given what you’ve read, can you see the potential for major misery? And can you see the far-reaching relief that can be realized by addressing this “basic?”
Hmmm, seems to me you ought to take a look…
Take the time to read the full Existential Psychotherapy article on GoodTherapy. Well worth your time.
And while you’re at it, review hundreds of Chipur titles. I know you’ll find something that clicks and helps.