19 November 2017 Shared values – Working together existential and cognitive therapy. Talk by Melvyn Flitman

Despite its effectiveness, cognitive-behaviour therapy has been criticised for its brevity, symptom-focused orientation, and application scope. Existential therapies tend to be longer and encourage overall meaning-making.

This talk presents valuable insights based 254 accredited cognitive theorists who were inquired about their views and attitudes regarding cognitive-behaviour therapy, existentialist therapies, and the integration of both modalities.

Results of the research showed that existentialist therapies could compensate for cognitive-behavioural therapies’ eventual lack of depth, fluidity, authenticity, humanity, and application scope. They were a more personalized approach, suitable and/or beneficial for certain therapists, clients, circumstances, and/or problems. They were sometimes utilized and unsystematically integrated with cognitive-behavioural therapies. Institutional power struggles, existentialist therapies’ limitations, and therapists’ lack of training and/or knowledge prevented their more extensive use. That is, compounding whatever familiarity issue was the hesitance to use such approaches, led in part by institutional biases in favour of cognitive-behaviour therapy and against approaches that are less easily measured. Nevertheless, their combination appeared as a promising endeavour that, if implemented properly, such as through training, could arguably marry the strengths of both approaches.

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