Existential Counseling: Bachelor Of Counselling Assessment Answer


In broad definition, it can genuinely be asserted that the use of existential therapy in the case study in question effectively encouraged the client in question to develop a full understanding of the meaning of personal life as well as the existence of the universe. It was quite apparent that the concerned counselor in the case study effectively developing personal counselling style that was primarily based on one of the theoretical perspectives. This research paper is based on a video counseling session in which a counselor interacted with a client through both verbal and non-verbal expressions.

According to the code of ethics of American Counselling Association (ACA), it is clearly stated that counselors ought to promote the personal growth as well as development of their clients through not only helping them in the development of interpersonal relationships that are healthy, but also through ensuring that they effectively honors the diverse cultural values of their clients (VanDeurzen-Smith, 2010).  In this specific case study, it can truly be asserted that existential therapy was the most preferable base for theoretical counselling because it fitted well with the personal style of the counselor that comprised of the 12 step philosophy. In addition to that, the approach (Existential theory) was the most appropriate   in the case study in question because it helped in the promotion of a counselling relationship collaborative therapeutic process. For instance, the counselor asked the client numerous questions in order to get more information about the client. It also helps in promoting the personal development and growth of the client through helping to resolve ultimate struggles in ascertaining the personal purpose or meaning of life through positive interaction of the counselor and client.

One of the major strengths that is associated with the use of existential theory is that presents the counselor in the case study with a set of construct and principles that serve as a guide towards the foundation or establishment of the entire counselling  practice. To effectively overcome the feelings of any inferiority that the client may have in the case study, it will be prudent for the client and the counselor in the case study to create an effective interpersonal relationship (Cooper, 2003).  The counselor inquired from client regarding personal and work life. The application of extential approach should be based or founded on four major existentialism themes which are freedom, meaningless, isolation, and freedom which every person should confront in the guest of answering the ultimate meaning regarding human existence. There is a strong belief that failure of resolving such ultimate conflicts or ultimate questions will ultimately lead to the creation of existential vacuums that result in existential anxiety that is known to be the main cause of numerous psychological problems faced by many people.

Based on this case study, it can truly be ascertained that existential freedom implies not only the freedom of acting and responding, but also choosing in the contexts of specific conditions as well as the inherent limiting impacts (Frankl, 2006).  Freedom is not therefore a condition that should be acquired during the course of existence because it is the basis of existence. From the case study, it can be derived that the clients will have the free capacity of reflecting and invoking the awareness of individual awareness because of having the free will of choosing and creating or developing ourselves from infinite available possibilities. It is prudent to note that numerous psychology approaches are aimed at overcoming or controlling the existence of individuals (. Instead, Existentialists always seek to become honest regarding their human conditions and strive as much as possible to comprehend it as it is. It is prudent to note that human nature cannot be deemed as being something that must be faced by all and sundry. Successful outcomes that emanate from existential therapy should be concerned about learning to embrace or uphold humanity instead of overcoming it.

As opposed to other approaches to psychology that are aimed at overcoming or controlling people’s existence, the use of existential theory is aimed at seeking to become honest regarding the human condition as well as comprehending it as it is. In this case study, it can truly be said that the extential approach has been applied well in that it has made it possible for the therapist to facilitate the opening of available possibilities (Doostmusic, 2012).  This is quite disadvantageous in that it allows the exploration of choices associated to responsibilities. This is important in personal life because it allows two individuals to become aware or conversant with each other about their similarities, their differences, and what that implies to their specific relationship.

The engagement of the counselor and the client in the case study can truly depict that the quality of “therapeutic alliance” that was established by congruence was of high quality. This is attributed to the fact that the counselor encouraged self-disclosure through application of covert disclosures. In the video incidence, the therapist effectively made use of their own experiences to help in the clarification of any challenges that existed in the worldview of clients without necessarily revealing sources of such information (Corey, 2009).  This is because overt disclosures are known to explicitly acknowledge the personal experiences of individuals.  In this case scenario, it can be revealed that both the therapist as well as the client were interlocked in what can best be deemed as an “inter-relational knowing”. This moment was marked with sharing where tears, laughter, glances were experienced. There were instances where the therapist got engaged in a situation of crisis with the client, especially when the client challenged the therapist and there was need to offer a human response as opposed to a routine response.

Existential counselling should involve working with beliefs and values and this can be achieved by ensuring that counselors effectively determine or ascertain what matters to clients most as opposed to what matters to them as counselors (Schneider & Krug, 2010).  The counselor in the case study effectively used both the verbal as well as non-verbal responses from the case study which helped in getting to know what mattered in the life of the client. For instance, the counselor asked the client questions and client responded through spoken words and body expressions. It also helped the counselor in the identification of authentic relationships such as dependability, respect, and honest from the client (Spinelli, 2005).  Based on the case study, there are many vital lessons that can be learnt regarding the existential values. For instance, it can be eluded that there is always no correct method of being or the right answer that can be found. As a result, it is prudent for counselors to ensure that they help their clients to face their contradictions, conflicts, and paradoxes instead of aiming for “one sided accomplishments”. The final objective should not be yielding a perfect individual, but instead, it should be building an individual who is able to negotiate different contradictions in a creative and constructive manner (vanDeurzen, 2002). 

In conclusion, it can be ascertained based on this case study that the success of any existential counselling session is depended on all the parties that are involved. There is always need for all the concerned parties to ensure that they put aside any preconceived assumptions or notions regarding what is made about various statements and word in the course of the counselling  sessions (Schneider & Fitzgerald-Pool, 2005). Bracketing in an existential counselling session should never be geared towards removal; of assumptions, but rather, it should be aimed at placing them aside as other options are fully explored. It can also be learnt that the therapist should never ascribe to lesser or greater importance about what the clients tells. Therapists should always aim at supporting clients to place their statements against backdrops of existence and the worldview (Sartre, 2007).


Cooper, M. (2003). Existential therapies. London, England: Sage.

Corey, G. (2009). Theory and practice of counselling and psychotherapy (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.

Doostmusic. (2012). Documentary on the life of Jean Paul Sartre: The road to freedom [Video file]. Retrieved fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAMCZKDgL04

Frankl, V. (2006). Man’s search for meaning. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. (Original work published 1959)

Sartre, J. P. (2007). Existentialism is humanism (C. Macomber, Trans.). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. (Original work published 1945)

Schneider, K. J. & Krug, O. T. (2010). Existential-humanistic therapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Schneider, K., & Fitzgerald-Pool, Z. (2005). Eating problems. In E. van Deurzen& C. Arnold-Baker (Eds.). Existential perspectives on human issues: A handbook for therapeutic practice (pp. 58–66). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Spinelli, E. (2005). The interpreted world: An introduction to phenomenological psychology (2nd ed.). London, England: Sage.

vanDeurzen, E. (2002). Existential counselling and psychotherapy in practice (2nd ed.). London, England: Sage.

vanDeurzen, E., & Arnold-Baker, C. (Eds.). (2005). Existential perspectives on human issues: A handbook for therapeutic practice. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

VanDeurzen-Smith, E. (2010). Everyday mysteries: A handbook of existential psychotherapy (2nd ed.). London, England: Brunner-Routledge.

Yalom, I. D. (2001). The gift of therapy: Reflections on being a therapist. London, England: Piatkus Books.

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