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Existential Psychotherapy at KMA Therapy Toronto

What is Existential Psychotherapy?

Existential therapy focuses on identifying our system of values and challenging them in order to live a more meaningful and purpose-driven life. It can feel exhausting and tiresome to live in a world where we don’t feel motivated and can’t figure out what our purpose is.  Existential therapy helps us look at life more realistically, combat anxieties over death and dying, and live each day to its fullest by helping us understand what is meaningful, special, and joyful to us.

Existential therapy has recently been popularized by modern-day therapists such as Emmy Van Deurzen and Irving Yalom. Existential Psychotherapy is based on the teachings of existential philosophers such as Jean Paul Sartre, Martin Heidegger, Friedrich Nietzsche, Soren Kierkegaard, and Edmund Husserl.

What Issues does Existential Psychotherapy treat?

Existential therapy can help with a wide range of issues including but not limited to:

  • Anxiety Counselling
  • Depression Counselling
  • Death Anxiety
  • Feelings of Meaningless/Hopelessness
  • Feeling ‘stuck’
  • Self-Exploration
  • Life Transitions/Decisions

The Existential Therapy Relationship

The existential psychotherapy relationship focuses on self-awareness, relationships, human limitation, freedom, responsibility; and choice; and meaning. How these issues are dealt with varies greatly from individual to individual. Flexibility is one of the most important factors in existential therapy.

Research has shown us that regardless of the theoretical orientation of your therapist, your experience will depend largely on their personality and your connection with them. We have taken this research to heart, and for this reason we always start therapy with a 30 minute consultation with our director, Kimberly, to ensure that you will be with a therapist you can truly connect with. Together, we will determine the length of therapy that's right for you.

Counselling depends on many factors unique to you, and the scope of your issues. Generally, you will sense when counselling has been successfully completed when you have overcome major issues in your life. You will notice that they have new energy, interest, and enthusiasm about other aspects of your life - as well as the confidence to tackle new challenges on your own.

Successful counselling also depends on maintaining the momentum with your counselor. When you attend regularly set sessions, we can usually progress faster than when our sessions are spread far-apart. You will find weekly sessions the most productive. Some people feel that bi-weekly, or twice-a-week sessions are the right pace for them.

Recommended Further Readings for Existential Therapy:

Van Deurzen, Emmy (2009). Psychotherapy and the Quest for Happiness. Sage, London.

Yalom, Irvin D (1996). Lying on the Couch. Harper Collins, New York.

Yalom, Irvin D. (2008). Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death. Jossey Bass, San Francisco.

How Can I Book an Appointment for Existential Psychotherapy at KMA Therapy?

To book an appointment for your initial counselling consultation, simply register online or call us at 416-487-6288. We are located at Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto. We look forward to meeting you!