Existential therapy is aligned, but not synonymous with, the existential philosophies that were first popularized by Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche in the 1800s. This form of therapy is based upon the belief that humans have a strong desire to overcome their innate aloneness by establishing connections with others.
According to the online Depression Guide, existential therapy is dedicated to addressing issues “with a receptive attitude, rather than a dogmatic one: the search for truth with an open mind and an attitude of wonder is the aim, not the fitting of the client into pre-established categories and interpretations.”
Existential therapy practitioners place more of an emphasis on their clients’ present and future than on their past. As clients learn to embrace the true nature of human aloneness, they are also able to develop a greater appreciation for their freedom to make decisions and accept responsibility for the effects of those decisions.