The meaning of life, our existence our purpose — or the lack of it, often arises as an issue in therapy, it can often emerge out of the exploration of another and very different reason for attending therapy or it can be the reason someone has chosen to seek the help of a therapist. When you feel a lack of meaningful purpose, Existential Therapy and exploringly life’s purpose, your faith, spirituality or religion can help to restore you balance.
- Some want to explore the spiritual meaning of their lives.
- For others it is important to embrace the existential questions of life.
- Some people have questions about the religion they grew up with.
- While others feel that their faith is not understood and feel isolated.
- Some people have had no faith and are now searching for meaning.
Whatever is the case for you, therapy is a space to explore all the aspects of who you are – particularly valuing and exploring your cultural, ethnic, religious and political / environmental stance or background, to find a deeper meaning and understanding of the person you are today and hope to be in the future.
To find a therapist to explore ideas and issues around the meaning of your existence, faith, religion or spirituality take a look at our City of London Therapists.
What is Existential Therapy: Exploring your reason for being
At its heart, Existential Therapy is the exploration of meaning in our life. Often recurring questions come into our thoughts:
- Does my life have any meaning?
- Who am I, what do I stand for, can I always stay true to my ideals?
- Are we responsible for all of our actions, and the repercussions of them?
- Are we free agents, are we just a cycle?
- Am I only here by chance, an accident of nature?
Given that as humans, we have the capability of ‘self-awareness’, each of us are unique, no two people can ever have identical thoughts and emotions and so there is ‘no answer’ to the meaning of life and the reason for being. This can lead some of us into a state of ‘Existential Anxiety’, constantly wondering ‘What is it all about?’
For many it is important to discover some logical meaning for their existence and in discovering it feel that they can enjoy their time. Although we may find meaning at various points in our life, after college, during parenthood, while succeeding in our careers, life never stands still, people and their circumstances change, and the meaning of their lives’ change too.
What is the goal of Existential Therapy?
The target of Existential Therapy is not to try to eliminate Existential Anxiety but to find a balance in our lives that allows us to enjoy the here and now and to feel contentment for how we choose to live our lives.
Existential Therapy seeks to help you discover / formulate your own understanding for your reason for being.
What is Spirituality Therapy: Exploring your connectedness
At its heart Spirituality Therapy is the exploration of what connects us with what is around us, not just other people, nature, our environment, our universe. It’s not so much about the individual meaning of our existence but more how we fit into the puzzle itself.
Often there are recurring emotions for those that feel spiritually unsettled:
- Lacking a sense of belonging.
- Lacking a sense of inner peace.
- Difficulty with Self-compassion, Self-forgiveness.
- Judging themselves or others quickly or harshly.
- Feeling empty or that life feels meaningless.
Spirituality is often linked with faith or religion, but it does not necessarily follow that if you do not have a faith or follow a religion you can’t explore ideas of spirituality. Many feel a spirituality through the act of ‘Mindfulness’, ‘Meditation’, ‘Yoga’ or ‘Giving selflessly’.
It may be a concern that you feel you cannot explore spirituality with another person, such as a therapist, unless they have the same faith or beliefs as you, but in truth the discussion and exploration is not around formal ideas of faith, religion or beliefs but around how we see ourselves within our understanding of the world and universe in which we exist.
Spirituality takes into account cognitive and philosophic areas of thought as well as aspects of emotions and behaviour, and so the exploration is broader than simply finding a meaning to religion.
What is the goal of Spiritual Therapy?
Similar to Existential Therapy, Spiritual Therapy can be an attempt to understand our own nature and reason for being or meaning of existence. However deeper than this spirituality is also linked to self-awareness and a sense of contentment and an understanding of how we connect to others and the world around us.
Existential Therapy, Spiritual Wellness and Mental Health
If you are struggling with some area of the meaning of being, exploring your existence or spirituality can help you find a calmer more connected way of being. Making a space to explore and discuss your feelings and emotions around your existence and/ or spirituality can help to renew your ‘joie de vivre’.
To find a therapist to explore ideas and issues around the meaning of your existence, faith, religion or spirituality take a look at the London Therapists page.
Please feel free to chat on the telephone to a few therapists or to meet several before deciding who you would like to work with. The initial session is an opportunity for both you and the therapist to decide if you would like to work together.
© Brian Cotsen