Comparing Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy with Other Approaches

Posted: January 20th, 2023

Comparing Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy with Other Approaches

For a wide range of mental diseases, evidence-based types of psychotherapy have proved to be efficacious and cost-efficient. Each kind of therapy has its benefits, and professional psychiatric-mental health therapists must be competent to assess which one is best for each patient. With Evidence-based practice, it is a priority to give patients the widest range of treatment alternatives available. Throughout the history of EBP, patients’ preferences have been emphasized, providing them with relevant alternatives. The purpose of this paper is to discuss and compare humanistic-existential psychotherapy in clinical practice with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)Comparing Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy with Other Approaches.


Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy

Humanistic-existential psychotherapy focuses on the human condition as a central theme. It takes an optimistic perspective on one’s own capabilities and goals while simultaneously acknowledging one’s limitations. Peoples’ preferences, goals, and values are taken into consideration in this adaptable approach to experiences (Heidenreich et al., 2021). By addressing the emotional and spiritual pointlessness that so many people experience in the current world, existential therapy strives to make them feel better spiritually and mentally. The goal of existential psychotherapy is not to change individuals, but instead to aid them in understanding who they are by assisting them in identifying their meaning and integrity in a weak and transient life (Heidenreich et al., 2021). Allowing clients to have a deeper understanding of their true selves is the primary goal of existential therapy. In addition, it deals with issues like mortality, self-determination, emptiness, and solitude in an individual’s existential journey.

The client’s biggest complaint in the film was that he did not feel especially alive in his daily existence and that he had difficulty perceiving his feelings. Existential therapy was used in the video because it is a means of addressing topics like the human sense of value, imagination, uncertainty, spirituality, happiness, and grief. According to Feizi et al. (2019), the findings of research conducted to establish the efficacy of existential psychotherapy, existential therapy may have a major beneficial impact on one’s approach to life and one’s sense of self-worth Comparing Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy with Other Approaches.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is a treatment intervention that combines the use of educational psychology principles with clinical circumstances. CBT stresses the importance of views, like attitudes, concepts, and reasoning, in the origin and management of mental health illnesses (Fordham et al., 2018). Under the cognitive-behavioral paradigm, one’s thoughts and actions have an influence on their physical and well-being health along with their capacity to live comfortably. CBT is a communication therapy that tries to uncover and change undesirable thoughts and actions.


Comparing CBT and Existential Psychotherapy

Both existential psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are based on the practical sense of being. Both are mainly concerned with language processes, not interpretations. Both models, on the other hand, deal with a specialized and separate topic. A key difference between cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and existential psychotherapy is that CBT concentrates on what has already been learned, whereas existential psychotherapy centers on what can be learned going forward (Van Deurzen & Arnold-Baker, 2018). The CBT approach to depression emphasizes that unpleasant thinking, unpleasant bothersome imagery, absence of creative solutions, and adverse interpretative inclinations all lead to the maintenance of a depressed mood in patients with the disorder.

Existentialism divides reality into two fundamental kinds: being-in-itself and being-for-itself. Being-in-itself encompasses nonliving components and animals, whereas being-for-itself involves humanistic, transcendental consciousness. Both kinds are stressed in CBT, which also admits that several physiological mechanisms are recognized and utilized in comprehending and educating patients that there is also a highly individual, subjective view on self and everyone else around them (Van Deurzen & Arnold-Baker, 2018). Continuity and authenticity are central to existentialism, which places an emphasis on free will and the power of the person to choose their own choices. In treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) emphasizes conscious decision, consciousness, purpose, and freedom, yet not so much on dedication, genuineness, or involvement, because these qualities are reliant on the intentional endeavor Comparing Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy with Other Approaches.

Clinical Practice

While there are some variations between the two approaches, they may have an influence on practice since the necessity for functional and integrated approaches for individuals with a range of psychiatric disorders who are at risk of further serious physical, emotional, psychological, and behavioral concerns is crucial, particularly from a public health medical standpoint is important. Psychotherapies must be tailored to the individual requirements of patients who have been evaluated. In order to reach mutual objectives, including improving patient well-being and achieving meaningful outcomes, practitioners and researchers need to work collaboratively.


Despite the vast differences of treatment modalities discussed in this paper, they are all tied together by an emphasis on personal existence, clinical encounters, and an appreciation of the complexity of the human mind. There is a strong focus on supporting the person in realizing how their prior encounters, present viewpoints, and prospective desires impact their present condition.


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, 1–6.

Fordham, B., Sugavanam, T., Hopewell, S., Hemming, K., Howick, J., Kirtley, S., das Nair, R., Hamer-Hunt, J., & Lamb, S. E. (2018). Effectiveness of cognitive–behavioural therapy: a protocol for an overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. BMJ Open, 8(12), e025761.

Heidenreich, T., Noyon, A., Worrell, M., & Menzies, R. (2021). Existential Approaches and Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Challenges and Potential. International journal of cognitive therapy, 1–26. Advance online publication.

Van Deurzen, E., & Arnold-Baker, C. (2018). Existential therapy: Distinctive features. Routledge.

Assignment: Comparing Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy with Other Approaches Understanding the strengths of each type of therapy and which type of therapy is most appropriate for each patient is an essential skill of the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner. In this Assignment, you will compare humanistic-existential therapy to another psychotherapeutic approach. You will identify the strengths and challenges of each approach and describe expected potential outcomes. 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 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. Note: Comparing Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy with Other Approaches


The School of Nursing requires that all papers submitted include a title page, introduction, summary, and references. The Sample Paper provided at the Walden Writing Center provides an example of those required elements (available at ). All papers submitted must use this formatting. Link to videos Grande, T. (2019, January 9). Theories of counseling – Existential therapy [Video]. YouTube. PsychotherapyNet. (2009, June 29). James Bugental live case consultation psychotherapy video [Video]. YouTube. ThinkingallowedTV. (2010, September 20). James Bugental: Humanistic psychotherapy (excerpt) – A thinking allowed DVD w/ Jeffrey Mishlove [Video]. YouTube. Comparing Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy with Other Approaches

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