What approach and therapeutic modality are used at Existential Practice?
My approach is a blend of Existential Psychotherapy and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.
What is Existential Psychotherapy?
Existential psychotherapy attempts to view a person’s struggles not as a mental health disorder, but rather as a complexity and psychic pain of natural human existence. It acknowledges that we as humans are all struggling in one way or another, and one always copes with loneliness, moods swings, life choices and frustrations.
Bearing in mind a client’s trauma history, or current struggles, in our therapy session, we pay attention to basic needs of human existence, such as need for freedom, meaningful life, relationships, etc. During the initial assessment and later on, in subsequent sessions, we aim to identify and strive for mental equilibrium in the client’s life, such as freedom to be one self, content, fulfilled and surrounded by meaningful relationships.
What is Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy?
Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy takes into account and is guided by the principals of psychoanalysis. It aims at exploring our early childhood environments and personality development, as well as identifying the unconscious patters that each of us operates with.
Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is all about exploring unconscious processes in our minds aiming at discovering what is really going on beyond the manifested ideas and wishes. Traumatic childhoods often rob us of feeling the sense of safety and belonging in the world and predispose us to feeling insecure, unsafe and vulnerable. It often reflects on our relationships, corrupting the way we relate to others and, first of all, to our selves. Psychoanalytic approach is an excellent tool to identifying unconscious processes that happen outside of our awareness. Once awareness is achieved, change becomes possible, and understanding alone sometimes can lead to restoring a better sense of self, and more harmonious ways of relating to others.
How can this approach help people suffering from consequences of trauma?
Existential Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is an excellent tool to minimize the effects of trauma, as it aims at restoring person’s sense of self, trust in the world and others and achieve sense of meaning and satisfaction in life.
For example, many people want to process the traumatic memories, so that a reduction in symptoms of post-traumatic stress can be achieved. Various approaches are often used for this purpose, such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Narrative Exposure Therapy, somatic psychotherapy, etc. Existential psychotherapy aims at inviting the client to make sense of the memories, what associations and feelings they illicit and what that means to the client, how it shapes his/her personality, how the client can live at best and make the most of life, as a trauma survivor, but also as an ordinary human, and so on.
How do I know if I have PTSD, C-PTSD (also known as complex trauma disorder) or post-traumatic stress in general?
Generally, if you are feeling strongly affected by something from your past, you can say you were “traumatized” by it. If your mind keeps returning to it and you find it hard to let go, perhaps there are some unanswered questions or some feelings that still trouble you and you are not quite sure how to resolve it. To learn more about symptoms of post-traumatic stress, please click here.
If your symptoms are not severe to the extend of affecting your daily functioning, they may not constitute a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress, however if something is troubling you from the past it is a good idea to come in for a few consultations to see if this helps resolving the issues and find some answers. Therapy is not only for “mentally disturbed”, but it is also an excellent self-care and self-development tool, that can become one of the most important experiences in your personal life.
I have tried various therapies and modalities and I am still struggling. Will I ever heal from trauma?
Unfortunately sometimes the trauma is so severe and its impact on our selves is so significant that we may carry it with us for a lifetime, and feel its impact at times. Trauma inevitably becomes a part of your identity, just like any “ordinary” childhood environment would. However traumatic childhoods do tend to manifest for some people as a lifelong sense of grief and loss, for some it is constant battle with depressive episodes or anxiety attacks. In this instance ongoing self-care strategies and symptom management strategies can be learned with your therapist to have something to turn to at times of stress. I would compare it to living with a chronic disease, that stays with you for life, but does not “flare up” when you manage it well.
How long does therapy take?
I offer a rather long-term therapy as I believe that sufficient time is required for significant changes in a person’s mental functioning and sense of wellbeing. In our initial assessment session I will aim at providing clients with an estimated treatment duration and we will have an open discussion about how much time and commitment therapy will require in any particular case. I will always aim at most transparent and clear (often educational) way of approaching the issues to provide you with “something to take home” each session, and will do my best to ensure that we tackle them efficiently, and do not prolong treatment unnecessary.
Got more questions?
Please do not hesitate to Ask Me or call for a confidential discussion.