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The Existential Moment: The Goal of Therapy

Happy New Year!

The ringing in of the New Year is a time for new beginnings. The celebration of a new year dates back to the Babylonians, and current cultures the world over continue to embrace comparable rites and rituals.

The New Year’s resolution is a celebrated example of ringing in the new in the US. We commit to a change, make a promise to do something different in our lives in a process of growth (sometimes, sadly, a fleeting process). Notably, the promise of the resolution presumes a before and after, an old and new. The new is our goal.

What is the goal of therapy as we endeavor new beginnings with our clients?

According to E-H theory, one answer to that question is similar to that for all clinical psychology: symptom relief and the promotion of well-being. Irv Yalom puts it succinctly, “My therapy goals…are ambitious: in addition to symptom removal and alleviation of pain, I strive to facilitate personal growth and basic character change.”

But what underlies healing and growth? The answer, for E-H theory, is presence. It is the foundational criteria opening the new and, thus, fostering transformation.

Being present with ourselves, others, and life, with what is, allows us to face reality. Healing then occurs in a new relationship with ourselves and, ultimately, in the awareness of our inherent wholeness. Growth happens in the pause of presence and the expression of choice. The expansion of the capacity of freedom, importantly, feeds on itself, fostering further potential.

  Links to Related Resources and Blog Posts:

The Existential Moment: Presence

Read all the Existential Moment series posts.

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