Existential Therapist Career Guide

Existential therapy applies psychological counseling techniques that are deeply rooted in the philosophies of existentialism. Existentialism is the basic philosophical belief that humans should accept the way things are in their lives and try to make the best of it. It relies on a few basic assumptions which can be considered to be relatively believable facts. In this field of psychotherapy, one accepts that humans come into the world with no understanding as to why for the most part. Existential psychology also takes into consideration that every individual will feel a level of solitude, will lack in reasons to be motivated, and will eventually die. Existential therapy deals with the emotions caused by experiencing anger, anxiety, frustration and depression.

Career Information

The duties of an existential therapist can be broken down into four phases of therapeutic counseling. In the first phase, the therapist initiates communication with the client using a naive approach. This is done to openly discuss the thoughts and feelings of the patient related to the matter of concern.

While counseling patients in the second phase, a therapist has to keep in mind the variables which might impede the extraction of information. When a patient discusses his or her past experiences, he or she usually regrets certain decisions taken and this could result in anger and anxiety. Existential therapists must keep this in mind and recognize that related experiences could trigger increased levels of anxiety, fear and anger.

In the third phase of treatment, the therapist must guide the patient to think logically and to understand the world according to his or her own perceptions.

The fourth and final phase allows the patient to draw out a meaning and/or a life lesson from his or her experience.

Job Outlook

The projected increase in the demand for professional mental health therapists is expected to rise by 36.5 percent in the next eight years. This increase is based on the fact that many individuals need counseling for issues they suffered in the past, as these issues could affect their presents and futures as well. The steady increase in overall population also produces an increase in the number of individuals in need of such therapies. (bls.gov)

Salary Outlook

The median annual wages calculated in 2011 for mental health counselors or therapists was $42,590. (bls.gov)

Educational Requirements

A bachelor’s degree of four years is a perfect start to becoming a professional therapist in this area. To enroll in a master’s program, one must complete certain courses in his or her bachelor’s program, such as: introduction to psychology, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, experimental psychology, theories of personality, statistics, and research methods in psychology. Students must complete their undergraduate programs with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. They must also acquire work experience in mental health therapy, either from a volunteer experience or from an internship, to gain admission into this master’s program.

You will ultimately need a license to implement the theories you have learned and to practice the skills you have developed throughout your years of education and training.

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