Existential Therapy: Distinctive Features - Book Review

  • Friday 14th July 2023

We recently facilitated work experience with the lovely Yasmeen Molokhia and asked that she read and review Existential Therapy: Distinctive Features written by Emmy Van Deurzen and Claire Arnold-Baker. 

Here is the very insightful and brilliant review below.

Existential Therapy: Distinctive Features by Emmy van Deurzan and Claire Arnold-Baker is an enlightening book that explores the philosophical aspects of therapy. As someone who was mainly familiar with the psychological approach to therapy, this book truly opened my eyes to the depths of existential perspective.

One of the most astonishing aspects of this book is its ability to bridge the gap between philosophy and therapy. The authors skillfully guide the reader through the key concepts of existential philosophy and demonstrate how they can be applied in therapeutic practice. They explain the fundamental principles of existential therapy such as the exploration of meaning, freedom, responsibility and the search for authenticity.

The book is organised in a clear and accessible manner, making it suitable for both beginners and professionals in the field of therapy. The authors provide numerous case examples, illustrating how existential concepts can be implemented in real-life clinical situations. This not only enhances the understanding of the material, but also assists in developing practical skills for therapists.

What sets “Existential Therapy: Distinctive Features” apart is its emphasis on personal growth and self-awareness. The existential approach encourages individuals to confront the existential dilemmas of human existence, such as anxiety, isolation and the fear of death. By adopting these challenges, therapy becomes a transformative journey that empowers individuals to live more authentic and meaningful lives.

The author’s passion for the subject shines through in their writing. They successfully convey the difficulty of existential therapy, inspiring readers to explore this approach further. They also address potential criticisms and limitations, offering a balanced perspective on the challenges and benefits of working within the existential framework.

In conclusion, “Existential Therapy: Distinctive features” is a groundbreaking book that introduces readers to the profound philosophical foundations of therapy. It broadens the understanding of therapy beyond the purely psychological domain and invites a deeper exploration of the human condition. Whether you’re a therapist, student or simply curious about existential philosophy, this book is a valuable resource that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on your understanding of therapy and personal growth.

By Yasmeen Molokhia