Dear ,

Welcome to the Soul Wisdom Therapy newsletter!  

The Existential-Humanistic Approach to Psychotherapy

I was trained early on as an "existential-humanistic" psychotherapist. The approach, explained below, is a major component of the work I do with clients. I do, however, include other therapeutic modalities mentioned on the SWT website. Still, I thought you might want to know more about this particular way of working.

- Deborah

Existential-humanistic psychotherapy is the "tough love" branch of psychology. It deals with the harsh realities of living that most of us tend to avoid thinking about. What are these realities? They are the ultimate "givens" all humans share: 
  • The inevitability of physical decline and death
  • The freedom you possess naturally, and what you do with it
  • Existential isolation, or the essential aloneness of living
  • Meaninglessness, or the need to derive meaning while living in an apparently meaningless universe
People often repress existential concerns with distractions, addictions and the sheer busyness of living in a modern society. But for some people the denial of harsh realities doesn't work, and they are left feeling anxious, fearful and depressed.

Rather than try to suppress such anxiety with drugs or other means, the existential psychotherapist encourages a client to acknowledge and accept his/her feelings. The client is guided to find a healthy awareness of existential realities without being overwhelmed by them. The client is given the tools to confront his/her fears by taking action to gain control over the direction of his/her life.

The existential therapeutic approach is less concerned with a person's past and more concerned with that person's unique values, beliefs and circumstances in the present.  Clients are empowered to take responsibility for their lives by realizing that their choices and actions do matter; that there is freedom within limitation.

The goal is to help the client find meaning and purpose, not to live someone else's version of how to live life. The aim is to live an "authentic life" -- or to quote the Greek philosopher Pindar: "To be what you know you are."

Existential psychotherapy is not for everyone. While it does attempt to address the fundamental factors underlying a mental health problem, it may not deal directly with the particular issues the client wants to work on. In addition, some clients are not willing or able to do deep intrapsychic work. 
Existential Psychotherapy: Death, Freedom, Isolation, Meaninglessness
A brief introduction to existential psychotherapy (11:03).
Max's Corner

We felines don't anguish over existential realities. We don't suffer the anxiety  or depression that goes with obsessing over them. We live in the Here-and-Now, accepting what life gives us in the moment. Especially if it's a warm lap!
Soul Wisdom Therapy Groups

Are you interested in joining a spiritual community of people who come together once a month in Davis to talk about living life to the fullest, finding meaning, working with mindfulness, and practicing meditation? You may find the  Awakening to Spirit  Group a fit. Please visit the website at for more details. Group meets the third Saturday of each month from 10:00 AM to noon.

A new online (videoconferencing) Self-Discovery: Transforming the Shadow group will begin in April or May on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m.  Please  click here  to read more about the group. Inquire soon to reserve a spot.

Check out the  Soul Wisdom Blog  for insight on such categories as relationships, healing, wellness, and more. And like Soul Wisdom Therapy on Facebook!

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Soul Wisdom Therapy 

Deborah Cohen, M.A., M.P.H., LMFT 
707-301-0252 (for texting)

Office Location:
621 Fourth St., Suite 6 
Davis, CA 95616
Soul Wisdom Therapy | 916-491-1216 |