How Can an Existential Sensibility
Enhance the Practice of Psychotherapy?

 

Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.

Albert Camus

 

Providing another human being with total acceptance and unconditional positive regard is not always a good idea or a wise move. While existential therapy is… a constructive dialogue, where the therapist participates empathically in the client’s understanding of the world, this therapeutic encounter needs to have some sharp edges and it has to allow for deeper probing.

Emmy Van Deurzen

 

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Viktor Frankl

 

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.

Jean-Paul Sartre

The Existential Sensibility: Self and Psychotherapy in an Uncertain World

In this article, I summarize some of the major themes of this two-day conference. It was designed to engage participants both cognitively and affectively, and the conference sessions included lectures, a case presentation and consultation, an experiential session on death anxiety, small group work, and a plenary session.

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What It’s Like to Visit an Existential Therapist

If you ever find yourself sinking into the plush blue couch of Dr. Jane Prelinger, you should know that she doesn’t want you to call her Dr. Prelinger. In her office, even when you’re on the couch and…

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Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure

“Shakespeare’s plays stretch so wide, and his characters are so multi-faceted, that they might seem incoherent. But the fact is: all our ideas about life, and people, are narrower and less interesting than the real thing. Shakespeare is a great writer partly because his ideas were way bigger than most people’s. That’s uncomfortable.”

—Richard Smith on Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, one of a dozen works we’ve read in our Existential Book Club

LATEST BLOG POSTS

Living into uncertainty

“Human beings want to feel that they are on a power walk into the future, when in fact we are always just tapping our canes on the pavement in the fog.” August 15, 2021 Writing just a few months into the pandemic, humanities professor Mark Lilla discussed how much...

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Illness and isolation

“People are trying desperately to make room for one’s inner life." March 24, 2021 Diane Meier, M.D., discusses how the commercialization of medicine and the fear and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have left many Americans traumatized. Dr. Meier has been...

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A new forum on race

“When you stop debating whether … systemic racism is real and whether it’s a problem, you can then debate the more salient question what to do about it.” March 22, 2021 Ibram Kendi and The Boston Globe are collaborating to create an online publication—The...

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“…then I had a kid.”

“…then I had a kid. And nothing, not even a doctorate in philosophy, prepared me for the physical and existential dread I would feel when tasked with protecting this fragile, new creature.” January 14, 2021 Philosopher and existential scholar Danielle LaSusa describes...

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Insight isn’t enough

“Psychoanalytic insight…is an insufficient vehicle of patient change because it often leaves patients asking their therapists, ‘So what?’” January 8, 2021 Psychologist Samuel Salamon reviews the psychoanalytic tradition of relying on insight to trigger change. He also...

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CONTACT US

We can be reached using this form.

Center for Existential Studies and Psychotherapy

5028 Wisconsin Ave. NW STE 400
Washington DC 20016

cesp.wdc@gmail.com

CONTACT US

We can be reached using this form.

5028 Wisconsin Ave. NW STE 400
Washington DC 20016

cesp.wdc@gmail.com

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