Existential Therapy : Distinctive Features book cover
1st Edition

Existential Therapy
Distinctive Features

ISBN 9781138687103
Published May 13, 2018 by Routledge
156 Pages

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Book Description

Existential Therapy: Distinctive Features offers an introduction to what is distinctive about this increasingly popular method. Written by two practicing existential psychotherapists, with many years’ experience, it provides an accessible, bitesize overview of this increasingly used psychological therapy. Using the popular Distinctive Features format, this book describes 15 theoretical features and 15 practical techniques of Existential Therapy.

Existential Therapy will be a valuable source for for psychotherapists, clinical, health and counselling psychologists, counsellors, psychiatrists, and all who wish to know more about the existential approach.

Table of Contents


Introduction i

List of abbreviations ii

List of figures and tables iii



1 A philosophical rather than a psychological approach to therapy

2 Existential philosophy offers an understanding of what it is like to be human

3 Creating a broader perspective on the wide context of Being-in-the-world

4 Recognising the way in which we relate to Others

5 The effect Time and Temporality have on our existence

6 Intentionality: Understanding the intentional nature of our actions and reactions

7 Focusing on freedom, choice and responsibility

8 Death, Anxiety and Angst

9 Existential Guilt

10 Paradox and the tension of existence

11 Notion of the dynamic Self

12 Authenticity and Inauthenticity

13 Finding purpose and meaning: the original project

14 Values and human worth

15 A well lived life


16 Developing a phenomenological attitude

17 The quality of the therapeutic relationship: I-Thou

18 A descriptive exploration

19 Taking stock and being aware of the limitations of life

20 Getting the bigger picture: Four dimensions of existence

21 Living in the world physically

22 Living in the world socially

23 Living in the world personally

24 Living in the world spiritually

25 The emotional world of the client

26 Embodiment

27 Examining the paradoxes of life

28 Revisiting values and beliefs

29 Making meaning and discovering purpose

30 Finding freedom



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Professor Emmy van Deurzen is an authority on existential therapy with a worldwide reputation. She has published 16 books in the field and is the founder of the Society for Existential Analysis, and of the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling at the Existential Academy. 

Dr Claire Arnold-Baker is an existential therapist, counselling psychologist and perinatal specialist.  She is the DCPsych Programme Leader at NSPC, a joint programme with Middlesex University, where she also teaches and supervises.  Claire also regularly runs an Introduction to Existential Therapy workshop.


Van Deurzen and Arnold-Baker introduce readers to the world of existential theory and practice, and give them a sound grounding in the field and the inspiration to explore the terrain they outline further and in more dept. They provide that most difficult thing - a clear and concise guide to the theory and practice of existential therapy.  This book will be a valuable resource for anyone - whether they are a psychotherapy trainee, seasoned practitioner, or lay person - who seeks an accessible introduction to the contribution of existential philosophy and psychology to understanding what it means to be human. 

Professor Simon du Plock, Middlesex University