Misconception Of Existentialism
4. Existential Therapy
Unlike Adlerian Therapy, or Psychoanalysis, Existentialism was not founded by any person or group. Instead, the concept is a cornucopia of different ideas which contribute to a universal theory of existence (Corey, 2013, p. 140). World War II devastated Europe and left those that participated, or that were victims of the war, struggling with isolation and meaninglessness. The search for understanding and freedom within the confines of the Nazi oppression lead philosophers and psychologists alike to rethink the concept of freedom and the meaning of life. Philosophers like Nietzsche and Heidegger laid philosophical foundations for existentialism by challenging the idea of self and reminding us that we exist “in the world” rather than simply occupying a space within it (Corey, 2013, p. 131).
Key figures like Viktor Frankl, who lost his family in Nazi concentration camps in the 19040s used their horrible experiences in a constructive way to reshape modern thinking about freedom and choice. Frankl’s experiences in the death camps confirmed his existential approach that we are never without freedom as we “have choices in every situation” (Corey, 2013, p. 137). Although Frankl believed that our salvation is through love, which is the highest of all aspirations, his influence from the time he spent in the death camps lead him to believe that not only love, but also suffering helps lead us to the ultimate discovery of freedom (Corey, 2013, p. 137). Frankl…