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A Case Study: Existential Therapy Essay

After meeting with Anna and following her initial evaluation I have decided that it would be in her best interest to draw upon the concepts of the Existential theory. Using the ideas behind Existential Therapy we will move towards creating a good therapist and client relationship. We will then work together to bring Anna’s consciousness and unconsciousness to a place of psychological balance. Anna will explore herself from within her memories, thoughts, and perceptions to go beyond her limited self- awareness. Our focus will be on “what” her current issues are at this time find the possible causes explore thought patterns, reflect, and look at different ways to perceive situations changing thought patterns and behaviors thus resolving the current “What” or disturbance presently troubling Anna’s life. Anna will use exploration and client led talking techniques to reveal any reoccurring thoughts, behaviors, or emotions to signify a pattern and correlation of thought with her present.

Although we are using methods that look at past memories, emotions, and behaviors we are not focusing on the “why” of her current disturbances and not even the current behaviors, emotions, or reactions that are hindering her choices and control in her life needed for her to have a more positive self-image. Anna then can create purpose for life situations through good thoughts which will support a more meaningful and spiritual growth. She will be asking herself questions such as “Who am I?” and “What is the purpose of life?” By exploring these questions, gaining a better understanding of self, then reflecting upon them we anticipate that she will find new perspective and awareness about herself, that can relieve her from the psychological distress with which she is currently suffering from. (Murdock, 2012)

How it will be used in the counseling process for client

Our objective is to get Anna to share information about her current life situations and also her past experiences, her recollections from her childhood, her memories. We will work together as therapist and client to explore all of Anna’s how does she view her relationships with others, her environment, and how she views herself. Anna will share information about both her past and present situations, and how she reacted to such incidences at the time, and how she is currently reacting to her present situations in life. Together we will work at finding patterns and repetitious behaviors, looking for the causes of any reoccurring behaviors or thoughts. Any anxieties she comes across will be explored for fears of isolation, loneliness, and death. Anna will learn to except life for what it is in healthier ways, and to take responsibility and control of her life by changing her self-perceptions and reactions to her environment and other peoples influence. Anna will be reflecting upon her memories, and about how these experiences made her feel along with how she is currently feeling about her present life situations.

Anna and I, will discuss how she copes in stressful times. (Sue 1987) All this technique of talk, exploration, discovery, analysis, and reflection will work to get Anna to own her freedom without fear, as the one responsible and in control of her own development through her healthy thoughts and actions of her will. She will find meaning of herself and life and develop new thoughts and behaviors that are encouraging, thus allowing her to be “true to herself”. Anna will find enrichment, and renewed energy that will enliven her to where she will find her moral and meaning and purpose in life. I chose the Existential and behaviorist theory and to use its methods of therapy in Anna’s case study over the other theories, because she was a good candidate for a successful outcome in treatment. This theory focuses on perception and changing distorted thought patterns that are the cause of current disturbances through reactive behaviors in one’s life. I think this theory will prove a successful client outcome for Anna when treating her personality disorders of depression, and anxiety. (Murdock 2012)

Counseling Goals and Interventions

The main goal of existential therapy is to enable Anna to start being more truthful with herself, and to gain a larger new perspective about how she views the world and herself. The objective is for Anna to better understand and reflect upon the lessons she discovers in her past, and use them as a guide for the future. I will aim to help facilitate Anna’s motivation to One of the counseling goals will be to work together as therapist and client to bring awareness to Anna’s consciousness so she can find wholeness and psychological balance.

Once we bring together both the unconsciousness and the consciousness of Anna’s thoughts and behaviors Anna can have relief from her psychological suffering and actually find meaning to it. We also want to realign Anna’s conscious and unconscious aspects of her personality by discovering purpose and meaning for her behaviors, thoughts, and condition, and through her development of new values. Jungian uses symbols that will suddenly appear in client dreams, daily lives, projects of creativity, and their fantasies. Many of these are similar to images in myths, religion and traditions. Concentration of these images makes energy that creates images that lead to impulses

Jungian Theory: A long Term Commitment for Counseling

This theory requires analysis which requires the therapy to be occurring on frequent basis and the counseling sessions are expected to be of high intensity. Sessions will be scheduled one to four times each week and it is possible for even five or more sessions per week to be decided. Both client and patient work to decide what would be most beneficial amount of time needed for the client’s specific needs in counseling. Typically the counseling process aligned with this theory extends over several years and could go even longer if needed. (Murdock 2012)

The counselor’s and client’s role in counseling?

The counselor and client roles in Anna’s counseling will be shared in many areas such as serious commitment to counseling since this type is one that requires long-term therapy over several years. The counselor’s role is to help the client focus on their experiences in their daily life, past memories, relationships, feelings and reactions to these experiences, reflection, and exploration of the client’s dreams. Through the interaction and strength of the relationship between the client and the therapist decisions are made together about the counseling process. The client is expected to share information the counselor is the analyst although the client shares in the analyzing of the information and decisions to be made.

Confidentiality is a must. The counselor has the hard role of analyst the difficulty of exploring the “psyche “of the client. The client has the role of constantly needing to be conscious of their thoughts and behaviors. Commitment, relationship, and focus on realigning the unconscious and conscious psyche in relationship, I think are the most important roles in this type of counseling process. For what population(s) is this theory most appropriate? How does this theory address the social and cultural needs of the client?

This analysis type does well for people who have emotional issues, have relationship problems want growth and seek meaning of life, those on spiritual exploration, people who suffer with depression, anxiety, and with the culturally diverse clients when modified to the client needs and because it focuses on a person’s “psyche” so there is not a specific personality type or way of thinking that is required for this analysis to be successful and effective (Addison. 1997). Here the focus on the entire “psyche” of a person’s mind goes beyond the social identity of ones ego as long as the analyst is culturally aware of the clients diversity during the analytic process of exploring the client’s information and findings, there shouldn’t be any issues with the client’s cultural needs being compromised. (Blass 2003)

Other important information that client should disclose and possible risks of Jungian analysis Other important information the client should disclose would be abuse, trauma, or any other memory or significant experience that had an emotional impact upon the client. There is always the risk of developing a more severe anxiety when unconscious memories and/or emotions suddenly surface causing anxiety that could put a stop on this type of counseling process immediately due to potential harm for the client.


Cherry, Kendra. Psychoanalytic Theories of Development, About Education (2015) psychology.about.com/od/developmentecourse/a/dev_psychoanaly.htm Addison, R. (1997): The racially different patient in individual and group psychotherapy. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapyt, 9, 1, 39-40. Blass, R.B. “on Ethical Issues at the Foundation of the Debate over The Goals of Phychoanalysis.” International Journal of Phychoanalysis 84 (August 2003):
929-943. Sue, S. Zane, N. (1987): The role of culture and cultural techniques in psychotherapy and counseling. American Psychologist, 53, 4, 440-448. Murdock, N. L. (2012). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy: A case approach (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education

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