Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 11–20

Emotion, Relationship, and Meaning as Core Existential Practice: Evidence-Based Foundations

  • Louis Hoffman
  • Lisa Vallejos
  • Heatherlyn P. Cleare-Hoffman
  • Shawn Rubin
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10879-014-9277-9

Cite this article as:
Hoffman, L., Vallejos, L., Cleare-Hoffman, H.P. et al. J Contemp Psychother (2015) 45: 11. doi:10.1007/s10879-014-9277-9

Abstract

Existential therapy’s solid evidence-based foundation has not been adequately articulated to date. One challenge to this task is the lack of a singular or unified existential approach. Despite this, there remain shared themes that are common across the approaches to existential therapy. A second challenge is that many existential therapists resist Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology (EBPP), viewing it as excessively restrictive. However, EBPP is more inclusive than previous approaches to evaluating therapeutic effectiveness, such as the empirically supported treatment movement. We maintain that EBPP fits well with existential therapy and supports its practice. This paper identifies three pillars of existential psychology as its (1) relational focus, (2) emphasis on working with emotions and experience, and (3) meaning-centered approach. Each of these pillars have a strong foundation in empirical research, clinical competencies, and ability to be adapted to individual and cultural differences, which have been identified as the core of EBPP (American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology 2006). While few outcome studies specifically on existential psychotherapy exist, there is extensive research supporting the core practices that comprise existential therapy practice.

Keywords

Existential therapyEvidence-based practice in psychologyTherapeutic relationshipMeaningEmotions

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louis Hoffman
    • 1
  • Lisa Vallejos
    • 1
  • Heatherlyn P. Cleare-Hoffman
    • 2
  • Shawn Rubin
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Psychology and Interdisciplinary InquirySaybrook UniversityOaklandUSA
  2. 2.American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy UniversitySan Francisco Bay AreaUSA
  3. 3.School of Clinical PsychologySaybrook UniversityOaklandUSA