While the techniques of existential psychotherapy can include Freudian, Jungian, Gestalt, cognitive, behavioural or other methods, the fundamental technique shared by all existential therapists is phenomenology. Phenomenology refers to the conscious setting aside of preconceptions and dogma in an effort to discover the client or patient’s actual subjective experience or “being” (Dasein). It is through this that the true experience, will and intentionality of the patient at any given moment may be discerned, understood, and appropriately responded to by the therapist. The focus of treatment is on the present, here-and-now, current circumstance, rather than exclusively on early formative influences. While the power of the past and of unconsciousness– those aspects of ourselves of which we are unable or unwilling to become aware– to influence the present detrimentally is recognized and addressed as it arises in treatment, the patient’s subjective experience of self (“I am”) and of the therapeutic encounter is of primary importance.
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