Humanistic-Existential Therapy and Other Psychotherapies Paper

Humanistic-Existential Therapy and Other Psychotherapies Paper

Humanistic-Existential Therapy and Other Psychotherapies Paper

Psychotherapy is a management approach for mental illnesses that uses non-pharmacological approaches. It may help improve the functionality of patients by alleviating troublesome symptoms, alleviating anxiety and boosting self-esteem (Locher et al., 2019). The purpose of this paper is to elaborate on humanistic-existential psychotherapy and Cognitive behavior therapy and illustrate differences among them in patient care.

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Humanistic-existential therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Humanistic-existential therapy entails developing a therapeutic relationship between patients and therapists. This enables therapists to have a good understanding of their patients and it’s aimed to instill a sense of awareness in patients that will promote recovery. The humanistic aspects of this therapy focus on the individual and unique experiences patients have and the therapists aim to create a compassionate and patient-centered environment for therapy (Robbins, 2021). The target is for a patient to develop insight through the evaluation of problems and empathy. The existential aspects highlight the freedom individuals enjoy having self-awareness and the goal is to attain authenticity in life (Feizi et al., 2019). Various concerns of existential therapy include death, isolation and meaninglessness. 

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These therapies avoid confrontation of the underlying problems and develop a wholesome understanding of the patient rather than focusing on alleviating the symptoms. Alleviation of symptoms frequently occurs though the focus is to treat the patient and not the symptom. Therapists aim to understand patients’ views and try to understand events from a patient’s standpoint without having preconceived or biased views regarding patient choices. The goal is for patients to develop internal reflections and awareness to realize potential ways of being to avoid restrictive ideas. Key concepts of these therapies entail developing a sense of meaning and empathy throughout treatment. These enable patients to accept responsibility and these therapies view patients as having the central role in their recovery. 

Cognitive behavior therapy is a form of therapy that aims to modify the thinking nature of patients. The cores of the therapy define psychological issues as being resultant of negative thinking patterns and maladaptive behavior that result from these (Heidenreich et al., 2021). It aims to relieve symptoms by teaching patients positive avenues of thinking, motivation and developing coping strategies. 

Three Differences Between CBT and Humanistic-Existential Therapy

Humanistic existential therapy aims for a cordial relationship between therapists and patients to foster recovery. They are geared to instill insight and self-reflection in patients. This is to enable patients to get a deeper understanding of themselves and identify restrictions and protective behaviors in their life (Heidenreich et al., 2021). The endpoint is to achieve self-actualization to help alleviate limitations and live healthier and more complete lives. On the other hand, CBT focuses on helping patients understand and identify their negative forms of thinking and providing avenues for change and modification of their thinking. It focuses on the current troubles a patient may be experiencing and helps them identify problem-solving techniques to tackle them (David et al., 2018). It teaches them positive thinking to avoid maladaptive behaviors. 

CBT focuses on the symptoms a patient may be experiencing and the primary goal is symptom eradication. CBT identifies negative thoughts and maladaptive behavior developed and mitigates these by teaching them avoidance of negative thinking, embracing positive thoughts and problem-solving techniques to solve their current problems (Heidenreich et al., 2021). Humanistic existential therapy on the other hand focuses on patients as a whole and avoids confrontation with the problems at hand. This therapy avoids targeting the symptoms and the primary goal is for patients to get an understanding of themselves and identify that they are the recovery agents. They aim to cultivate a sense of awareness and responsibility in patients and teach them that they can redirect their choices. CBT focuses on a patient’s current problems and aims to find solutions to the current problems. Humanistic existential therapy also focuses on a patient’s current problems but also extends to assessing a patient’s future expectations. The focus is for patients to become better and more aware to develop meaning and attain a better functional future. 

Why Humanistic-Existential Therapy was applied in the Video

The video presents a patient given a hypothetical name ‘’Joe’’. The major issues raised are that ‘’Joe’’ doesn’t feel ‘’very alive’’ and that he has a history of therapy two years prior. The patient is also described as not knowing exactly what he feels but feels very constricted. Humanistic-Existential Therapy was applied in this case to enable him to have a better understanding of himself. The approach would raise self-awareness in this patient and enable him to have self-actualization. This would enable the patient to identify limitations in his life and may tilt him to make better and healthier choices. This method would also provide a compassionate and empathetic environment which may alleviate anxiety and promote openness. CBT therapy may help the patient modify his thinking and develop positive thoughts and behaviors (David et al., 2018). The patient would learn problem-solving skills and identify those negative thoughts he may learn that his negative feelings may be alleviated by adopting a more positive approach. 

Why the Articles are Scholarly

The articles are scholarly because they are current as they are younger than 8 years. They are also peer-reviewed and the authors are in the medical or nursing profession. Moreover, the articles are systematic as they have an introduction, methodology, results and conclusion and thus are scholarly. These articles are also relevant to the clinical issues of interest. 


Psychotherapy may be applied to various mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. These methods include CBT, interpersonal therapies and Humanistic-Existential Therapy. Patients’ treatment should be individualized and the appropriate option selected to promote recovery. 


David, D., Cristea, I., & Hofmann, S. G. (2018). Why cognitive behavioral therapy is the current gold standard of psychotherapy. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9(4), 1–3.

Feizi, M., Kamali, Z., Gholami, M., Abadi, B. A. G. H., & Moeini, S. (2019). The effectiveness of existential psychotherapy on attitude to life and self-flourishing of educated women homemakers. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 8.

Heidenreich, T., Noyon, A., Worrell, M., & Menzies, R. (2021). Existential approaches and cognitive behavior therapy: Challenges and potential. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 14(1).

Locher, C., Meier, S., & Gaab, J. (2019). Psychotherapy: A World of Meanings. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(460).

Robbins, B. D. (2021). The Joyful Life: An Existential-Humanistic Approach to Positive Psychology in the Time of a Pandemic. Frontiers in Psychology, 12.

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To prepare:

Review the humanistic-existential psychotherapy videos in this week’s Learning Resources.
Reflect on humanistic-existential psychotherapeutic approaches.
Then, select another psychotherapeutic approach to compare with humanistic-existential psychotherapy. The approach you choose may be one you previously explored in the course or one you are familiar with and especially interested in.
The Assignment
In a 2- to 3-page paper, address the following:

Briefly describe humanistic-existential psychotherapy and the second approach you selected.
Explain at least three differences between these therapies. Include how these differences might impact your practice as a PMHNP.
Focusing on one video you viewed, explain why humanistic-existential psychotherapy was utilized with the patient in the video and why it was the treatment of choice. Describe the expected potential outcome if the second approach had been used with the patient.
Support your response with specific examples from this week’s media and at least three peer-reviewed, evidence-based sources. Explain why each of your supporting sources is considered scholarly. Attach the PDFs of your sources.


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