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What Is Existential Psychotherapy?

What Is Existential Psychotherapy?

Existential psychotherapy is based upon the principles of psychodynamic therapy, humanistic and existential psychology, the latter being a movement with roots in the existential philosophy and writings of Heidegger, Husserl, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Camus, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, and others. During the mid-twentieth century, pioneering European clinicians like Otto Rank, Karl Jaspers, Medard Boss, and Ludwig Binswanger were among the first to apply existential principles to the practice of psychotherapy, followed prominently by Viktor Frankl (Vienna), R.D. Laing (London), Rollo May (pictured here) and Irvin Yalom (United States).

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Irving Yalom: The Art of Psychotherapy

Psychiatrist Irvin Yalom suggests that symptoms initially presented in therapy often serve to mask deeper, existential fears.

Irvin Yalom, M.D., is professor of psychiatry at stanford University and author of numerous books on psychotherapy including Existential Psychotherapy, Love's Executioner and Lying on the Couch.