Existential therapy is based on developing a client’s insight, or self-understanding, and focuses on problems of living such as choice, meaning, responsibility, and death. This therapeutic approach emphasizes “free will,” the ability to make choices that are not dictated by heredity or past conditioning, through which an individual can become the person that he or she wants to be. Existential therapy attempts to restore meaning to life so that the client is inspired to have the courage to make choices that are both rewarding and socially constructive.
Following his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp, Victor Frankl developed a kind of existential therapy he called logotherapy. Frankl believed that one of the major factors that contributed to the prisoners who survived was their ability to maintain “logos,” a sense of meaning. Logotherapy is directed towards helping clients reappraise what is really important (most meaningful) in their life.