In this article, you will learn:
- What is Existential Depression?
- Existential Depression Symptoms
- How to Deal With Existential Depression?
- Existential Depression Treatment
- The Existential Depression Test
- The Existential Depression in Gifted Adults
- Existential Depression Intelligence
- The Existential Crisis Depression
- Existential Nihilism Depression
- FAQs on Existential Depression
What is Existential Depression?
Existential Depression refers to a condition in which an individual goes through feelings of nothingness, meaninglessness, and hopelessness. Such feelings are either a result of some tragic event. Or due to a person’s understanding of himself or his place in the world around him.
Thus, individuals experiencing negative feelings due to some tragedy get disintegrated and fall apart temporarily. Consequently, they experience a type of depression referred to as existential depression.
Further, such individuals realize the temporary nature of their life. Also, there are numerous things or events in this world over which they do not have any control.
However, those experiencing existential depression question the meaning of their lives and their behaviors.
As a result, such individuals either consider existential depression as a challenge or an opportunity for self-growth.
People who experience spontaneous existential depression are generally the ones who are naturally gifted with a lot of talents. Such individuals experience existential depression due to their mental and emotional abilities as well as their interactions with other people.
It is because intelligent people are typically more idealistic, sensitive, and intense. Further, they can see the disparities and irrationalities in the values and behaviors of other people.
Thus, such kind traits compel naturally gifted individuals to pose challenging questions about the purpose of their lives as well as those of others.
Furthermore, such individuals become aware that they represent just a small part of the world. Such feelings make them realize that they alone cannot make a difference to the world.
As a result, the bright individuals feel helpless in resolving the issues that bother them. And, they become depressed.
Dabrowski’s Approach of Existential Crisis
Kazimierz Dąbrowski, a Polish psychiatrist, and psychologist proposed the Theory of positive Integration to understand existential depression.
Dabrowski stated that individuals experiencing Spontaneous Existential Depression typically experience disintegration experiences.
He proposed that people who fall apart as a result of experiencing existential depression need to find some way to put themselves back together again.
They can either do this by reintegrating into a previous state. Or they can do it by reintegrating into a new or a higher level of functioning that demonstrates personality growth.
However, Dabrowski also mentioned that people going through such a process may at times suffer from chronic breakdown and disintegration.
But, the resulting disintegration is either positive or negative depending upon several factors.
Existential Depression Symptoms
As mentioned earlier, people who have a profound passion for a cause experience existential depression. Such individuals become consciously aware of the thoughts and feelings of hopelessness and despair.
Further, it is quite challenging for such people to go back to their previous life.
This is when they get involved in the process of thinking about existential issues.
Furthermore, they continue to manage the effects of such issues and the depression that accompanies them.
This happens because experiencing existential depression are dissatisfied with the kind of life they are living at present. Not only this but they are also dissatisfied with the way people around them think and behave.
As a result of such dissatisfaction, they are always on the path of self-improvement. In other words, such people continue to work hard to perform better so that they can give meaning to their lives. Besides this, they also help other people find the meaning of their life.
The following are the common symptoms that an individual with existential crisis depression typically experiences:
- Devaluing one’s pursuits or goals
- Disengaging from activity
- Feeling dull or depressive as a result of negative feelings
- Excessive worry about fate or death
- Obsessive, compulsive, and dependent behavior
- Feelings of emptiness and meaninglessness thus leading to
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Low self-esteem
- Identity crisis
- Lack of direction
- Unrealistic need for certainty or fanaticism
- The anxiety of guilt and condemnation
- Unrealistic need of perfection
- Feelings of loneliness or isolation
- The narcissistic preoccupation of acquiring power
- Developing a sense of specialness by heroism, workaholism, narcissism, or rebellious behavior
- Feeling entirely responsible for creating their self, destiny, feelings, choices, and actions
- Rejecting responsibility for themselves and blaming others for their life situation
- Feeling isolated leading to narcissism
How to Deal With Existential Depression?
Imagine the time when you’re having a good day and existential depression hits. What do you do? You have questions like how to cure existential depression or how to stop existential depression? Or How to counter existential depression?
Well, are some strategies that you can adopt to deal with existential depression.
The first step in the treatment of existential depression is to understand oneself. As mentioned above, gifted individuals typically experience existential depression. Such individuals understand the disparities and irrationalities in the values and behaviors of other people.
This means that they understand that they are not in sync with other people. However, they are not able to understand how and why they are different from others.
But, if such individuals understand that behaviors like being too intense, serious, emotional, or complex are normal, their anxiety would reduce over some time.
In addition to knowing themselves, gifted individuals also need to accept the following three truths. These truths were revealed by Arthur Schopenhauer long ago.
- The material goods are temporary and do not provide us with long-lasting comfort
- How other people see us is as temporary as material possessions. Such opinions may change at any time and we can never know what other people think about us in the real sense
- What we are is the only thing that truly matters.
Therefore, you need to understand your weak areas. Besides this, it also important to know your thought patterns. This is because internal calmness can be achieved only when we understand that it is our perception of various things that disturb us. And, not the material things.
In other words, internal calmness depends upon:
- what kind of self-talk do we have with regards to the world around us and
- the various situations of this world.
II. Relationship With Others
The next step is to understand how you relate to others. As per Luft and Ingham, one needs to understand that each individual has some blind spots.
This is in respect of how we perceive ourselves. They developed a tool called Johari’s Window. This tool is a simple matrix that helps people to understand themselves, their blind spots, and their relationship with others people.
This tool consists of a list of 55 adjectives. You need to select 5 or 6 adjectives that describe your personality.
Subsequently, this list is given to your peers who choose 5 or 6 adjectives that describe you in their eyes.
After this, all these adjectives are then put in an appropriate table called a ‘Window’. The following section shows how this window is made.
|Known to Self||Unknown to Self|
|Known to Others||A (Open)||B (Blind)|
Decrease your blind spots through feedback from others
|Unknown to Others||C (Hidden)|
Decrease the items in this window through self-disclosure
Decrease this window through introspection
It is important to note that it is not sufficient to just understand oneself. You also need to accept yourself and find out ways in which you can nourish yourself.
Guidelines To Understand and Accept Oneself
The following are some of the guidelines that will help you to understand and accept yourself.
- You should not focus on people. Rather, you should focus on your values and principles.
- Some amount of narcissism, as well as self-focus, will be required to develop and nurture yourself. However, you should know the difference between healthy and pathological narcissism.
- You must remember that during the process of development, there will be times when you will disintegrate and then reintegrate with yourself. This is the path towards increasing positive disintegration.
- It is quite probable that your developmental journey will make you as well as others around you uncomfortable
The above guidelines will give you hope to reintegrate positively. This is even though the experience of reintegrating will be uncomfortable for a while.
Besides understanding and accepting yourself, you can also adopt certain coping strategies and other behavioral styles.
III. Coping Strategies
Coping with the self-understanding of experiencing existential depression is quite disturbing. As a result, only a few people can withstand existential depression for a very long period.
Thus, to deal with such complex and painful issues, people adopt various coping styles. Some of the coping strategies are less adaptive as compared to others.
These strategies are especially less adaptive when these involve restricting one’s thought and increasing activity levels.
The following are some of the more adaptive coping styles that will help you manage disintegrations and existential issues.
i. Attaching Yourself to a Cause
Talented individuals usually attach themselves to a cause. Such a cause can be academic, political, social, and so on.
Becoming involved in a cause helps gifted individuals to feel less alone. However, there is a caveat. At times, getting involved in a cause may lead you to neglect yourself. This is because you engage yourself too intensely with a cause and tend to overlook yourself.
ii. Trying to be Humorous
As we already know, the day-to-day strategies that we experience make us extremely exhausted. However, bringing in humor can help us get a perspective and hence get relief.
There is no doubt that your life’s absurdities can turn out to be quite disturbing and frustrating. However, finding humor in such tragedies can help you get a more pragmatic and realistic view of things.
Thus, individuals who are able to laugh at a situation are blessed with a valuable gift. This is because they can reduce their feelings of hopelessness about existential issues while laughing at themselves and a stressful situation.
iii. Feeling Connected
As mentioned above, individuals experiencing existential depression often go through feelings of isolation, meaninglessness, and hopelessness.
Thus, one of the useful ways to overcome the feelings of existential isolation is to experience the touch of loved ones.
Such a touch is similar to the one experienced by an infant as he feels the need to be held caressed.
Likewise, individuals experiencing existential aloneness need to feel the touch of their caregivers and loved ones.
Research on mother-infant bonding or failure to thrive syndrome indicates that human touch is an important and instinctual aspect of our survival.
Therefore, it is advised that the parents or caregivers of the youngsters going through existential depression must hug such youngsters daily.
Such a hug, playful jostling, or even a high five can be very important to a youngster experiencing existential d[pression.
This is because such a physical activity helps in establishing some sort of tangible connection between the youngster and the caregiver.
All cultures consider hugging and touching as an important part of their lifestyle. However, unfortunately, our society is extremely cautious about people touching each other or trying to build such a physical connection.
It is your perception about the disturbing events or your self-talk about such events that disturb you.
The stressful events do not bother you to that extent. Individuals who engage themselves in deep negative self-talk about a situation or their life make use of the strong negative words.
These include never, always, all, or none, and so on.
Such individuals start believing that the stress will spill over into all areas of their life. For instance, they may start saying statements as I am:
- never going to be happy again
- never going to find someone who would understand me
- always alone
Now, the degree to which people going through existential depression feeling miserable depends upon the kind of self-talk they have.
In addition to this, it also depends upon whether such individuals can compartmentalize the stress.
That is, to isolate or separate the stressful event for a temporary time.
v. Ways of Compartmentalizing
There are various ways in which people compartmentalize their stress. One of the ways is to visualize, putting their stress inside a box called a worry jar.
As a part of such a visualization exercise, people place their stress into the worry jar and then shut the lid.
After this, they place the same jar on a shelf until they are ready to see those worries again.
The entire purpose behind such an exercise is that individuals experiencing existential issues plan to deal with such issues at a later time.
Or it may mean that they are setting aside a defined time to worry about such stressful issues.
Thus, compartmentalizing helps individuals to understand the following:
Experiencing stress in a particular area does not mean that they should become miserable about everything happening in their lives.
However, while compartmentalizing one must remember that overdoing this may lead to various problems.
At times, people set aside their feelings in such an extreme way that they have great difficulty coming back to their present.
At other times, people may set aside the stressful event into a compartment. But they are never able to deal with such an issue in their life.
Besides this, people may even enclose their feelings in such tight compartments that they are unable to view the conflicts between their behaviors and beliefs.
vi. Letting Go
Individuals who are too sensitive or intense try to impose their desires or expectations on the world around them.
They do this in almost all areas of their lives. Yet, such individuals are unhappy and dissatisfied with the results.
This means controlling life doesn’t help such individuals in any way to achieve what they want.
Thus, such individuals must let go of the life issues that frustrate them. And live the moments that come their way.
vii. Living in Present
Some people understand what is happening to them, what feelings or thoughts they are going through, and what actions they are performing.
Such people can live in the present. In other words, self-awareness and self-acceptance is the key to living your present moment.
These help you to observe the situations as they are without attaching any previous experiences or feelings.
This means that while observing such situations in real life, you are not influenced by fears, anger, or desires.
Such an ability helps you to deal with your present situations quite easily. However, those individuals who experience existential depression focus heavily on either the past or future.
They do not live in the present moment.
viii. Learning Positivity and Resilience
The degree to which a person is positive towards life significantly impacts how he responds to the miseries of life.
There is no doubt that a person’s DNA has an impact on his level of optimism or pessimism.
Further, his DNA may also impact the level of depression in such a person. But, it is important to understand how an individual responds to various situations in his life. For this has a great impact on the level of depression he goes through.
One cannot have any control over his genetic predisposition. But, he can certainly control his reaction to various situations in life.
ix. Focus on Continuing Generations
Some people find comfort in making families and continuing family generations. However, the continous generations is disturbing for other people.
This is because they observe the world around them that is full of challenges. Also, such individuals worry persistently about their children.
However, with age, such individuals do understand that worrying about such petty issues is not helpful in any way.
Thus, most people get this wisdom as they grow older. Furthermore, they share this wisdom with younger individuals and this is what makes them feel connected on humanitarian grounds.
Besides this, older individuals try to pass on their values to their children and grandchildren.
Thus, most people find out ways to solve existential issues when they reach the later stage of their life.
Through these ways, they get some sense of peace and happiness.
x. The Rippling Effect
The rippling effect refers to a situation when a person’s life influences the lives of other people as well.
Such people are those who are strangers to the ones from whom they get influenced.
Such an influence spreads like ripples in the water. Thus, rippling is the most powerful way of countering a person’s death anxiety and distress at various stages of life.
Each individual creates an influence the like rippling effect that may impact other people for years or even for generations.
It is important to note that such an influence is caused typically without conscious intent or knowledge.
Besides these powerful ways of dealing with disintegrations and existential issues, some common coping strategies are less adaptive and effective.
- Becoming a narcissist
- Having the belief that one knows the truth
- Making an effort to control life or having an illusion of control by labeling
- Not thinking about many areas of life including one’s blind spots
- Not caring about other people as it is less painful
- Avoid facing various personal issues by keeping busy
- Taking risks and seeking stimulation, excitement, and arousal through addictions, etc
The Existential Depression Test
As mentioned earlier, existential thinking is defined as the tendency to explore the fundamental concerns of human existence.
It also includes a person’s ability to engage in a meaning-making process. This places oneself in respect to such existential issues.
Thus, engaging oneself in fundamental questions of existence is a universal human experience.
Most develop beliefs around existential issues. However, each individual has a different level of capability to make sense out of one’s existence.
Therefore, people have varying capabilities to make sense out of one’s own existence. This idea originated from the research on multiple forms of intelligence.
Howard Gardener initially had proposed eight types of intelligence. However, in his book Intelligence Reframed, he suggested a new intelligence called existential intelligence.
Thus, Existential Intelligence turned out to be the ninth intelligence in his theory of multiple intelligences.
However, the challenge that came up was how existential thinking fits with other existential and consciousness concepts and psychology.
Thus, to understand this psychologists developed different measures that determined the relationship between a person’s relationship to existential issues.
One of such measures refers to the Scale of Existential Thinking (SET). SET is an eleven-item scale developed by Shearar.
This test measures a person’s existential thinking related to the meaning of his life and his existential wellbeing.
Refer to this Journal for SET.
The Existential Depression in Gifted Adults
Many famous personalities have experienced existential depression. These include people like Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, Abraham Lincoln, and many others.
Existential depression in gifted adults may be typical but is not exclusive to them. It is believed that people who are bright, gifted, or talented are more likely to go through spontaneous existential depression.
This is certainly a natural consequence of their emotional and mental capabilities and communication with others.
Bright or intelligent people are typically more intense, sensitive, and idealistic. In addition to this, they can see the inconsistencies and irrationality in the behavior and values of other people.
Such idealism, intensity, and sensitive awareness compel them to ask uneasy questions about life from themselves. For instance, they may ask questions like:
- Why do people behave like hypocrites? That is, they say something and do something.
- Why are men and women supposed to behave in a particular way?
- Are they concerned about the betterment of the world? Or are they simply doing it out of their selfish interests?
Four Issues of Existence
As per Irvin David Yalom, the American existential psychiatrist, there are four ultimate concerns of existence that people going through existential depression face.
Death is something that is the ultimate reality of life. This is unavoidable and the utter truth of mortal beings.
Freedom in terms of existential issues means having no external structure. Human beings enter a world that is not innately structured. That is, they are required to construct their world as per their choice given their freedom.
Another harsh truth is that no doubt one may be very closely related to the other. Yet, he is completely aware that he cannot know this person fully. Likewise, no one can know us intrinsically.
Thus, there will always be a chasm, meaning that one is all alone.
This existential concern comes from the above three. Accordingly,
- if death is the ultimate reality,
- the structure is one thing that we have to give ourselves given the freedom we have, and
- we are all alone, then
- what meaning is left to our respective lives?
Existential Depression and Intelligence
Existential issues are the result of one’s confusion. This confusion is due to their understanding of themselves as well as the world.
Existential depression in gifted adults is common due to several reasons.
Intelligent People Are Most Likely to Think
Gifted individuals are the ones who are most likely to question, analyze, and reflect on the hard questions about life. Now, this is natural to happen because one requires immense thought and reflection to even consider these questions.
Individuals who aimlessly engage in the day-to-day facets of life like food, daily chores, etc never devote time to these hard questions.
However, the brighter individuals are more inclined to look for universal laws as well as identify the injustices, irrationalities, and hypocrisies.
Gifted Individuals Can Visualize
Brighter adults and children can imagine the probabilities of the way things can look like. Therefore, they are idealists.
However, at the same time, they can also see how different the world is from the ideals/values they believe in.
Also, they realize that they have a limited capacity to change the world. And since they are sensitive and intense, they get dejected when their ideals are not met.
They can see pretense, hypocrisies, and inconsistencies in the behavior and values of those around them. They even question the unfair traditions and customs.
No matter, these gifted individuals can think and visualize, their very characteristic strengths make them face many challenges.
The following table describes the common challenges faced by gifted adults due to their characteristic strengths.
Challenges Faced By Gifted Individuals
|Characteristic Strengths||Related Difficulties|
|Think critically, have high expectations from themselves and others, and can see the capabilities in others||Need to be recognized by people, are intolerant of others, pursue very high standards, and are typically ahead of times|
|Take in and maintain information very quickly||Can’t take the slowness of others and are typically seen as individuals who know everything|
|Are multi-talented, a store-house of information about advanced topics, and have several interests and abilities||Typically face issues in making a career choice, get irritated over a limited time, feel different from others, and go through existential loneliness. Others may see them as the ones always in control|
|Sensitive, intense, and self-motivated ones. Possess higher energy levels, are persistent, and determined to achieve their goals||Categorized as Type A personalities. Accordingly, find it hard to relax, repel interruptions, and may ignore others during times when they are focused. Also, they show stubbornness|
|These individuals are independent, creative. They experiment and like fresh ways of doing things||Find it hard to delegate work and trust others’ opinions. Also, discard what they already know, and hamper the plans and customs of others|
|Pursue meaning and consistency in behaviors and values of themselves as well as others||Are highly critical about themselves, cynical and depressed about others, and dominating at times.|
|Sensitive towards others and pursue emotional relationships||Highly oversensitive to criticism by peers. Also, deep mentor relationships can typically leave them disappointed|
|Concentrate on cause and effect. As a result, they seek evidence and proof||Find it very difficult to adjust to the non-logical human aspect. These include beliefs, faiths, etc|
|Can laugh at themselves and possess a good sense of humor||Typically, humor may not be understood by other people. They may use humor to condemn others.|
The Existential Crisis Depression
Existential crises are times when an individual is highly confused and anxious trying to find answers to existential questions.
These questions include who am I and what can I contribute to this world? These are questions related to identity and are referred to as Identity Crisis by Erickson.
Thus, there are people who struggle with these issues of identity at various stages of life.
And these people are said to be going through existential crises.
They experience high anxiety levels and such anxiety does not disappear until the crisis has been acknowledged, addressed, or resolved.
As per existentialists, people go through emotional disorders like depression.
This is as a response to difficulties they face in coping with freedom.
This freedom makes the person responsible for his choices which govern the quality of his life.
As per existentialists, an individual can hold up awareness of his freedom and the resulting responsibility only via self-denial. This results in loss of self and personal alienation.
Existential Crisis Depression is the result of one’s incapacity to deal with existential anxiety, frustration, and guilt. These are the outcome of awareness of a person’s responsibility towards his life.
Existential Nihilism Depression
Existential Nihilism is nothing but the belief that life in itself has no meaning to it. In other words, there is no intrinsic value attached to life.
Existential Nihilism is a problem that is common in younger generations. This is because it looks for answers to existential questions.
Further, Existential Nihilism is made of two concepts: Nihilism and Existentialism.
Nihilism is a concept associated with the German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It’s the idea of nothingness, that is, all values are pointless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is typically associated with an extreme form of pessimism and ridicules existence.
Nietzsche was of the view that Nihilism has damaging effects. In other words, it would eventually destroy all moral, religious beliefs. And this would bring about the greatest crisis in human history.
Existentialism, on the other hand, states that human existence is specific and personal. Such an existence in itself is the problem as individuals seek the meaning and purpose of their being.
Thus, Existential Nihilism starts with the fact that the world is without any purpose or meaning. Therefore, the existence of an individual itself which includes his feelings, actions, suffering, etc is ultimately pointless and empty.
It is believed that since miseries are more than pleasures in life, it is impossible to be happy. During the 20th century, the atheistic existentialist movement made existential nihilism popular.
Jean-Paul Sartre defined the movement as “existence precedes essence”. This notion eliminates any base for developing an essential self or a human nature.
As per Sartre, when one abandons illusions, life comes out to be as nothing. For existentialists, this nothingness is the source of absolute freedom as well as existential horror and emotional anger.
1. What is an existential depression?
As mentioned earlier, existential depression is a state in which a person experiences feelings of meaninglessness and hopelessness. In other words, you feel hopeless about life and see it has no meaning. This is either due to some traumatic event or your understanding of yourself and your place in this world.
Thus, you go through existential crises and seek answers to questions like who you are, what is your purpose, etc. You go through negative feelings, get disintegrated, and fall to pieces for a temporary time. Thus, you experience a kind of depression called existential depression.
2. How to deal with existential depression?
There are several ways in which you can deal with existential depression. The first step involves becoming self-aware. Existential depression is typically faced by gifted individuals.
These people have clarity concerning the inconsistencies in the values and behaviors of others. However, they are unable to understand how they are different from others.
So, if they take their intense and emotional nature as normal, they’ll be able to reduce their anxiety. Likewise, they need to understand their relationship with others and seek feedback from others to reduce their blind spots. In addition to this, such individuals can implement more adaptive coping strategies like attaching themselves to a cause to help them feel less lonely.
3. How to help someone with existential depression
Or how to beat existential depression? The first step is to help them become self-aware. Gifted people experiencing existential depression usually feel at odds with others.
They, however, do not understand why or how are they different. Gifted individuals must understand that it’s normal to be too intense or emotional. This way they can certainly lower their anxiety levels.
Likewise, taking feedback from others about their weaknesses or blind spots can help them understand them better. Similarly, one can guide them on following more adaptive coping strategies for managing existential issues over less adaptive ones.
For instance, you could guide them on learning to live in the present moment rather than not to care about their issues depending on addictions.
You can also help them prepare their coat of alms containing their key values. These are the values such people use to direct their life as well as decisions.
You can also engage in role stripping exercises with them. In this, you can help them understand that it’s not the various roles of a businessman, son, teacher, etc that should define them. But it is they who should define their roles.
Finally, you can help them learn in what way can they self-manage by becoming aware of their self-talk.
4. What is it like to have existential depression?
People, especially gifted individuals, experiencing existential depression find the world to not be the way they had thought it should be or could be. Such people experience thoughts of hopelessness and despair for the world around them.
Further, it’s difficult for them to go back to their previous life. This is once they get into thinking about these existential issues. These people continue to think about how these existential issues and the following depression could impact them.
They are in a state of confusion as they try to understand themselves and the people around them. This leads to feelings of loneliness and existential depression. Further, as they are able to visualize how things might be, they are typically called idealists.
However, at the same time, they also become aware of their limited capacity to change the world. Hence, they feel disappointed or frustrated when their ideologies are not met. They challenge traditions and can see inconsistencies in the behaviors of others.
5. What are the societal changes which have led to existential depression?
As per Darowski, there are a number of factors that result in existential depression. Being gifted or intelligent by birth is the first factor that results in existential depression. This is because such individuals have a greater understanding of how people can live their lives. And this results in emotional or existential crises.
The second factor is the role society plays in one’s personal development. Although, the extent to which it impacts you may vary depending on your intellect. Still, the social environment kills autonomy. Also, adjusting to a society that is itself old and confused further hampers your personal growth.
In fact, this stops you from identifying who you are and also from making choices for your development. So, as you become aware of your culture and the complexity of life, you experience anxiety, self-doubt, and depression.
6. Who tends to suffer from existential anxiety and depression?
Typically, it is the gifted or talented individuals who suffer from existential depression. This is because it is the intelligent people who worry about existential questions. These questions include who they are and what is their purpose?
They analyze and reflect upon existential issues like their identity, purpose, ideals which others should follow to live life, etc. They are curious to know about the universal laws and identify hypocrisies.
People who are average or belong to lower zones of intelligence are less likely to think about existential issues. This is because they are stuck with the day-to-day aspects of life like food, water, chores, etc.
7. Person-centered vs existential vs gestalt. Which is best for depression and anxiety?
Person-Centered therapy, Existential therapy, and Gestalt therapy are the three Humanistic approaches to therapy. Humanistic approaches assume that humans have the potential for self-awareness and choice. These approaches involve understanding the human experience and concentrate on the client and not the symptom of a disorder.
These therapies claim that issues like depression, anxiety, etc are rooted in one’s incapacity to make choices about his life.
Thus, such do not directly deal with the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
But focus on the issues of existence and personal freedom that result in these mental issues. All these therapies may be recommended by doctors to treat anxiety and depression.
Person-centered Therapy (PCT)
This therapy believes in the fact that each individual has his own world of experience. And that each person’s basic effort is towards maintaining, improving, and realizing the self.
Thus, criticism from others interferes with the way the individual sees himself. And this prevents his personal growth, leading to mental pressure.
This therapy is used to build a strong rapport with the client. Also, the therapist accepts the client without any conditions which make the client feel accepted.
Thus, PCT is about acceptance and growth. Here, the therapist does not focus on providing any guidance. Instead, they provide support, empathy, and acceptance to the client.
This therapy, on the other hand, is about responsibility and freedom. This therapy emphasizes that all people have the potential for self-awareness. And that they must accept the responsibility that comes with freedom.
Thus, it accepts both the capabilities and limitations of humans. It focuses on the issues that are rooted in one’s existence like death, isolation, meaninglessness, freedom, and related responsibility.
Thus, the client is made to face the anxiety he experiences due to these existential issues. He is then helped by the therapist to concentrate on bringing a balance between awareness of such issues without letting them overpower him.
That way, the client is motivated to take responsibility and make decisions that positively influence his life and those around him.
Thus therapy claims that simply understanding the parts can never help in understanding the complete thing. It states that scientific and reasonable processes are not sufficient to understand human beings.
Accordingly, a person’s personal experience with the people and the world is needed to understand him completely. Therefore, the therapist focuses on helping clients understand themselves and the world. Also, what happens in the present is most important as per this therapy. Therefore, the client is helped to come in contact with his present.
8. How to apply existential therapy to depression?
As said earlier, existential therapy helps clients to find meaning in their lives. In this therapy, the therapist focuses on helping patients acknowledge their choices and see the possibilities. They urge the client to be in the present and not let the past haunt them.
Clients are requested to use life-improving experiences to make decisions and guide their future behaviors. Therapists act like their life companions who guide them to think and behave without letting anxiety and fear of existential issues overpowering them.
Thus, therapists achieve the aim of helping clients find meaning in their lives given existential issues like death, isolation, etc. This helps patients to live an accomplished life that is marked by self-motivation and self-respect.
Thus, existential therapy works on the fear or anxiety that results from existential issues that eventually result in depression.
9. How common is existential depression?
Existential depression is typically common in gifted or talented children and adults. However, such depression can be experienced by anyone who experiences a major loss or a threat of loss.
This is because such a loss calls to attention the finiteness of life. However, existential depression is disproportionately high in gifted individuals. This is because they are more likely to reflect and think over these issues than others.
In addition to this, other important characteristics of intelligent individuals make them highly probable to experience existential depression.
10. How many people suffer from existential depression?
People of higher intellect or the ones facing trauma or an unsettling event often fall apart and face a depression known as existential depression.
In fact, such a depression arises instantly in gifted individuals from their puzzlements about life and its meaning.
11. Existential depression why have kids?
There’s an uneasy realization mothers have after giving birth. And this is they will have to bid goodbye to their children one day. Mothers usually face this issue because having a baby makes them confront the denial of death they have been into until that time.
When a mother brings a child to life, it brings along emotions like these. They simultaneously experience the joy of holding the child and the sadness of not being able to hold their child forever. But, they need to understand that there’s nothing wrong with them.
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