JD is a 26-year-old Hispanic male with quadriplegia who has been refereed to treatment by his primary care physician. Anxiety and depression appear to be the most prominent issues facing the client at the present time; however, the client both denies suicidal and homicidal ideation and is oriented to time and place. In an effort to help JD address his current mental health needs, this investigation considers how existential therapy may assist this client. Through a careful consideration of the basic tenets of this therapeutic intervention, it will be possible to conceptualize the client and formulate and rationalize a treatment plan utilizing existential psychotherapy.Existential Psychotherapy
In order to begin this investigation, it is first helpful to consider the basic contextual framework of existential psychotherapy. Yalom (1980) in his examination of existential therapy notes that this type of therapy is a dynamic psychotherapy. Critical to this definition is an understanding of what dynamic means. In order to effectively define existential psychotherapy, Yalom goes on to note that the term dynamic has a specific technical use that involves the concept of force' (p. 6). Specifically, Yalom argues that Freud's understanding of force provide the most pertinent understanding of dynamic: a model that posits that there are forces in conflict within the individual, and that thought, emotion, and behavior, both adaptive and psychopathological, are the resultant of these conflicting forces (p. 6).
[...] Even though it is evident that it is the therapist's role to raise JD's self- awareness, the reality of this situation may have notable ramifications for JD's overall mental status. In an effort to address the issues associated with the presence of loneliness, Mayers and Svartberg (2001) contend that the therapist must work with the client to see the positive options that are available for the client to improve his or her life. These authors note that the presence of a medical condition may impede the number or choices available to the client; however, in order to empower the client and address the issue of existential loneliness in a positive manner, the therapist should focus on the realistic options available for the client. [...]
[...] The therapist should continue to guide the client along a path that will enable him to garner greater self-awareness and the ability to fully engage in his existence. Covey (2001) notes that by the end of therapy, “Clients typically discover strengths and find way to them to the service of living a purposeful existence” (p. 158). Conclusion The challenges currently facing JD are quite significant. However, though the application of existential psychotherapy, it is possible that the therapist can give JD the tools that he needs to address these issues over the long-term. In this context, it is evident that therapeutic intervention is aimed at helping [...]
[...] In addition to the fact that the very nature of JD's current mental health issues lend themselves to the practice of existential psychotherapy, JD's willingness to take an active role in his treatment is also favorable for the application of this therapeutic intervention. Because JD is willing to take an active role in improving his life, the existential approach will provide him with the solid structure and foundation needed to reduce his anxiety and depression. In an effort to provide JD with the best possible treatment environment, it is recommended that JD meet with his therapist once a week to discuss his current condition, his past and his understanding of his current problems. [...]
[...] 147) Striving for Identity and Relationships with Others: Individuals are concerned with their identity development, but also feel a need to grow outside of themselves The Search for Meaning: Many of the conflicts that bring clients to therapy involve a greater searching for the meaning of life Anxiety as a Condition of Living: “Anxiety, arising from one's personal strivings to survive and to maintain and assert one's being must be confronted as an inevitable part of the human condition” (p. [...]
[...] It is a function of many factors: geographic isolation, the lack of appropriate social skills, heavily conflicted feelings about intimacy, or a personality style that precludes gratifying social interaction.” (p. 353). For JD, his medical condition has clearly impacted his desire to engage in interpersonal relationships. Although it appears evident at the outset that JD is having some difficulty developing and maintaining interpersonal relationships, JD does not appear to be aware of this problem. Rather, JD appears to be satisfied with his life, as he frequently travels out of his home and into the community. [...]
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