Humanistic–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example

Humanistic–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example

Psychotherapy is perceived as the primary approach in mental healthcare management, which helps treat many psychological, behavioral, and cognitive disorders, problems, and symptoms. Psychotherapy is often used alongside pharmacotherapy to enhance treatment effectiveness and quick recovery (Locher et al., 2019). Different types of psychotherapy exist and are perceived as suitable for different mental health conditions and disorders and varying patient circumstances. The paper addresses humanistic-existential therapy and contrasts it with cognitive behavioral therapy based on primary themes, modes of application, expected outcomes, and the therapist’s role.(Humanistic–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example)

Humanistic–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example
Humanistic–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example 1


The primary aim of humanistic-existential therapy is to foster self-awareness and personal growth, focusing on people and who they are in their current state. The approach strongly emphasizes the individual and current state and encourages accepting individual responsibility for the current state and the consequences of personal action (Robbins, 2021). The concept is centered on the belief that most individuals are reluctant to accept that they are responsible for who they are and their current state and spend much time blaming others. In this case, humanistic-existential therapy revolves around the relationship between the provider and the patient and practitioners helping patients discover themselves and enhance self-awareness of who they are and the world around them (Robbins, 2021). Accepting responsibility for their actions and who they are can help address their resistance and have a more meaningful existence as it focuses on self-searching and meaning.(Humanistic–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example)

On the contrary, cognitive behavioral therapy combines behavioral and cognitive therapies. It emphasizes the learning’s in developing normal and abnormal or unaccustomed behaviors, adopting the cognitive approach, which focuses more on what individuals think rather than do (Robbins, 2021). CBT primarily aims to deal with dysfunctional thinking that causes dysfunctional emotions and behaviors, assuming that people can change what they do and how they feel by changing how they think and reason.

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Differences between Humanistic-Existential Therapy and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Humanistic-existential therapy is rooted in the understanding that human experience influences the current state and that individuals are more responsible for who they are today. According to this approach, individuals develop psychological issues or disorders when they fail to make authentic, self-directed, responsible, or meaningful life decisions (Solobutina & Miyassarova, 2019). Humanistic-existential therapy interventions aim to enhance the individual’s self-awareness and self-understanding. The core words and themes are acceptance, growth, responsibility, and freedom. The approach stresses that people have the capacity for making decisions and self-awareness, focusing on the individual or the person as having an inherent ability to maintain healthy, constructive relationships and make decisions that benefit oneself and others (Solobutina & Miyassarova, 2019). This approach influences my PMHNP practice by guiding me to focus on helping people gain freedom from disabling assumptions and attitudes to live a more fulfilling life. It also stresses that I adopt existential philosophies to help the client make more authentic and responsible decisions to better their lives.(Humanistic–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example)

On the other hand, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) explores the relationship between cognition, emotion, and behavior. The approach focuses on automatic thoughts, cognitive distortions, and underlying beliefs as the primary aspects of cognition (Chand et al., 2022). The concept stresses that cognitive distortions like overgeneralization, minimization, disqualifying the positive, selective abstraction, and dichotomous thinking and underlying beliefs affect reasoning, perception, and interpretation of things and events (Chand et al., 2022). CBT is more structured and goal-oriented, involving the therapist and the patient working collaboratively to modify thinking and behavior patterns to bring about positive change and enhance the quality of life, which is a contrast to the humanistic-existential therapy that focuses on helping people through self-realization and self-understanding to make more authentic and responsible decisions. I consider humanistic-existential therapy more ruthless because it calls for the client to take more responsibility in their lives instead of blaming others people and things or events. (Humanistic–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example)

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Why Humanistic-Existential Therapy was used with Client in the Video

The video selected for review has Joe as the client, and he presents to the practitioner as feeling unwell and less alive. The client attended therapy sessions two years ago for anger issues, but the process was ineffective in helping address his dysfunctional and unaccustomed behavior and actions. The patient complains of a lack of place orientation and has constricted feelings. The humanistic-existential therapy was selected to help the client enhance self-awareness and self-understanding and increase the capacity to make authentic and meaningful decisions. Adopting this approach would help Joe better understand his life with a better individual identity, purpose, and meaning and help develop quality relationships with others. Adopting the CBT approach in this situation would focus on dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns that impact Joe’s life and how to address these dysfunctions to impart positive change. The outcome would be altered thinking and behavior patterns to help Joe live a more fulfilling life.(Humanistic–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example)


Humanistic-existential therapy focuses on the individual as a whole person who can maintain a healthy life and make authentic and responsible decisions. In contrast, CBT focuses on dysfunctional thinking and behavior patterns that are pervasive in clients and contribute to their mental health problems. Both theories emphasize bringing positive change to the inner individual and helping people gain more control over their lives through self-awareness, self-understanding, and more positive thinking and behavior patterns. The therapist can complement or supplement each other in treating mental health conditions.(Humanistic–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example)

Supporting Sources

Locher et al. (2019) explore psychotherapy in detail. Robbin (2021) discusses an existential-humanistic approach to positive psychology, and Chad et al. (2022) discuss cognitive behavioral therapy and associated concepts. Solobutina and Miyassarova (2019) tackle the existential personality fulfillment dynamics in psychotherapy course. These studies are peer-reviewed and scholarly because they are written and reviewed by experts with extensive knowledge and authority to address particular topics.(Humanistic–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example)

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Humanistic–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example
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Chand, S. P., Kuckel, D. P., & Huecker, M. R. (2022). Cognitive behavior therapy. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.(Humanistic–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example)

Locher, C., Meier, S., & Gaab, J. (2019). Psychotherapy: A World of Meanings. Frontiers in Psychology10, 460.–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example)

Robbins B. D. (2021). The Joyful Life: An Existential-Humanistic Approach to Positive Psychology in the Time of a Pandemic. Frontiers in Psychology12, 648600.–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example)

Solobutina, M. M., & Miyassarova, L. R. (2019). Dynamics of Existential Personality Fulfillment in the Course of Psychotherapy. Behavioral sciences (Basel, Switzerland)10(1), 21.–Existential Therapy-A Comprehensive Nursing Paper example)

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