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There are many different types of psychotherapy and it is often bewildering trying to decide which one is the best for you. The good news is that there is no clear evidence that one type of therapy is better or more effective than another. Consistently, it is found that the most important element for psychotherapy to be successful is the quality of the relationship between client and therapist. Therefore, I would recommend meeting a few therapists to find the best fit for you. 

Existential therapy is based on existential philosophy that was developed in the 19th / 20th century by, among others, Fredrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau Ponty and Martin Heidegger, although it has its roots in Greek philosophy. Put in simple terms, this kind of thinking sets aside theory and dogma in order to try to make sense of everyday reality. 

A common misconception is that existential therapy only focuses on the key certainties of human existence: freedom, meaninglessness, responsibility and death. But existential therapy is broader than this. I like to think of it as a kind of radical reflection, that encourages one to think deeply and critically about our subjective experience of the world. 

This type of therapy will not try to analyse you, or interpret what you’re saying in an attempt to decode what is in your ‘unconscious’.  Existential therapy is not something that is done to you. It is a conversation - a collaboration - in which we take a fresh look at the things which cause us pain. 

Existential therapy embraces the paradoxes and mysteries of the human condition. Life can be messy and complex, and we crave answers and structure to make it manageable. The existential outlook invites us to courageously explore the tensions and ambiguities of human existence. We are finite beings, thrown into a world we only partly understand. Some of the world will inevitably remain a mystery to us, and we have to come to terms with this unknowing. People often come to therapy seeking resilience, clarity and peace of mind, and these can often be found when we take a step back and take in a broader vista. 

This type of therapy is about facing reality as it is and not how we want it to be. It is a revitalising process which brings our choices alive and encourages us to try out new experiences and new ways of living. It is my personal belief that this kind of therapy can allow us to live with more purpose and create stronger, more authentic relationships. 

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