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Existential Counselling & Psychotherapy in Practice

Existential Counselling & Psychotherapy in Practice

Third Edition

November 2012 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Offering a concrete framework and practical methods for working from an existential perspective, the bestselling Existential Counselling and Psychotherapy in Practice is now in its Third Edition.

Central to the book is the belief that many of our problems arise out of the essential paradoxes of human existence, rather than from personal pathology. From this perspective, the purpose of counseling and psychotherapy is not viewed as problem-solving, but as a mean of enabling people to come to terms with living life as it is, with all its inherent contradictions.

Emmy van Deurzen, a leading existential philosopher and therapist, presents a practical method of working, using systematic observation, clarification and reflection to help clients rediscover their inner strengths. She shows how personal assumptions, values and talents, once acknowledged, can be turned to constructive use. Using wide-ranging case examples, the author also demonstrates the effectiveness of the existential approach in many different situations - from crisis work to dealing with chronic unhappiness.

The existential approach is a well-respected form of psychotherapy, but most writing on the subject tends to be heavily theoretical. This book offers a practical and accessible alternative, which will be invaluable to those in training as well as to more experienced practitioners.

Introduction: The Origin of Existential Therapy
Aim and Framework
Basic Assumptions

The Aim of Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling

The Attitude of the Existential Practitioner

Chapter Summary

Establishing Contact
Starting Point: Anxiety

Towards Authentic Living

Finding Guidelines

Chapter Summary

Clarification of Personal Worldview
The Physical World

The Social World

The Personal World

The Spiritual World

Chapter Summary

Taking Stock
Defining Assumptions

Determining Values

Exploring Talents

Chapter Summary

Creative Explorations
Understanding Emotions

Discovering Meaning

Working with Dreams

Playing with Imagination

Chapter Summary

Coming to Terms with Life
Facing the World Alone

Action and Commitment

Communicating and Relating

Living in Time

Chapter Summary


'This latest edition of the classic text Existential Counselling and Psychotherapy in Practice preserves the accessibility and focus on actual practice which made the original essential reading for all existential therapists, while incorporating new material on working with emotions and dreams, alongside valuable suggestions in every chapter for discussion and reflection. It is authoritative without being dogmatic, and in the honesty and clarity with which it presents this most lively and vibrant way of working cannot fail to inspire any therapist wishing to engage creatively with the problems of living which clients bring to the consulting room' -

Professor Simon du Plock, Metanoia Institute & Middlesex University

'In this third edition of the classic, Existential Counselling and Psychotherapy in Practice, Deurzen offers her confident down-to-earth account of existential practice now with a valuable new overview of the philosophers who have influenced this perspective. She manages to show concretely how existential philosophy is practiced without reducing it to doctrine or method. The text provides an antidote to the contemporary thinning out, through technique and expertise, of what psychotherapy should be; a vigorous and passionate dialogue about human life and how to live it. Highly readable and inspiring, this text remains a stalwart within the increasing literature on existential therapies' -
Greg Madison, PhD., author, The End of Belonging and co-editor of the Journal of Existential Analysis and Existential Therapy: Legacy, Vibrancy and Dialogue

Unable to access digital copy

Mrs Claire Anne Hasting
Community Health & Midwifery, University of Central Lancashire
March 5, 2021

Another wonderful book by the very knowledgable and foremost teacher on existential philosophy. A real gem and one I highly recommend to all our students.

Ms Kate Fronda
Counselling, Community Counsellor Training
October 2, 2016

This an excellent text for anyone studying therapeutic approaches or counsellors/psychotherapists who are interested in integrating existentialism into their practice. This book includes both a theoretical and practical view via the case study examples of how this integration may work in practice. Both a theoretical and practical view of existentialism.

Ms Victoria Louise Booth
H.E Care, Grimsby Institute of HE & FE
December 6, 2015

A very easy to understand narrative, explaining the main ethos of existential counselling.

Mrs Susan Simpson
Scarborough Campus, Hull University
June 22, 2015

Provides a good understanding of psychotherapy. This enables practitioners and students a foot hold to differentiate practical application of this approach.

Ms Jodie Low
Applied Social and Community Studies, Derby University
March 27, 2014

Emmy van Deurzen writes in a very accessible way that is a joy to read. Will be a core text in Year 1 of our Degree Programme

Mrs Maggie Parry
Early Years & Counselling, South Essex College
May 29, 2013

It is an excellent book and provides a very good european equivalent to the American Humanist tradition

Mr Baljeet Gill
Youth and Community, Ruskin College Oxford
October 31, 2012

• New 'points of discussion and reflection' at the end of each chapter.

• More verbatim therapist/client dialogue

• More case examples will be more clearly set out from the text.

• New introduction on the, past, present and future of the approach, the role of training and research, and current challenges to existential therapy.

• New conclusion in which criticisms of existential therapy are addressed.

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