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Liberating the Self: Navigating Everyday Anxiety with Existential Psychotherapy

In an increasingly uncertain world with endless choice and constant demand, feelings of worry can become overwhelming. Some of us can often experience “analysis-paralysis”; when faced with a choice, we may over-analyse every option on offer. For some, this can make doing seemingly easy tasks, much more difficult than needed. How can the persistent overthinker, learn to just think?

Existential psychotherapy emerges as a powerful discipline for understanding and addressing some of these unproductive emotions and thought processes.


What is Existential Psychotherapy?

Rooted in the works of existential philosophers such as Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche, and popularised by therapists such as Viktor Frankl, this approach delves deep into the depths of human existence, emphasising the value of freedom and in finding meaning. It really encourages the individual to just ‘be’.

So, according to the existential therapeutic approach, what can we do to help combat feelings of anxiety?


4 Techniques Using Existential Psychotherapy



1.     Embrace Your Freedom, Overcome Overthinking

Existential psychotherapy encourages us to embrace our freedom and take responsibility for our choices.

  • Step back and remind yourself that you have the power to choose. Embrace this gift of freedom and accept the responsibility that comes with it.
  • While rational analysis is crucial, don’t underestimate the power of your intuition. Existential therapy recognizes the wisdom of the intuitive self.
  • Pay attention to your gut feelings and inner guidance. Trust yourself to make choices that feel authentic and aligned with your values, even if they don’t always align with logic alone.

2.     Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a core component of many therapeutic processes and can help you develop a heightened awareness of your own experiences, thoughts and emotions in the present moment.


  • Try practices such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, as they can allow you to observe your anxiety and any worries without attachment to them, helping you to regain a sense of control and perspective.
  • If you find you don’t have the time to set aside, simply try engaging fully in everyday activities (e.g., cooking or exercise). This can help you to feel grounded and reduce the intensity of anxious thoughts. Practice being present!

3.     Acknowledge and Accept Feelings of Anxiety

Existential therapy acknowledges anxiety as an inherent part of the human condition. The approach proposes that anxiety arises when individuals confront the uncertainties and possibilities of life.

In this way anxiety can serve as a catalyst for personal growth and self-exploration.

  • So, rather than trying to suppress or avoid anxiety, try to embrace the feeling.
  • By acknowledging anxiety and its underlying causes, you can try to explore your fears, values, and desires more deeply, leading to your own personal growth and a greater sense of meaning.
  • Remember, anxiety can push you to step outside your comfort zone, take risks, and engage in transformative experiences.
  • Start by developing an accepting attitude towards feelings of worry or discomfort. You will unlock a wealth of possibilities for development in your life.

4.     Cultivate Your Own Authenticity

Existential psychotherapy emphasises the importance of living an authentic life. Anxiety often arises from the tension between who we truly are and the expectations imposed by society. By cultivating personal authenticity, you can alleviate this tension and reduce anxiety.


  • Practice regular self-reflection, journalling and introspective practices, as these can help you gain insight into your authentic desires, values and aspirations.
  • Set boundaries. Learn to say “no” when you do not feel as though something aligns with your values. This allows you to focus on activities and relationships that are meaningful to you.
  • Foster relationships with people who accept and appreciate you for who you are. If you feel that you have to put on a pretense, you will probably experience more frequent feelings of anxiety.

Existential psychotherapy can offer us some great ways of approaching difficult situations. By embracing our anxiety and power to choose, nurturing our own authentic self, and practicing self-acceptance and mindfulness, we can learn to develop resilience and navigate the challenges of our complex world.  As Viktor Frankl wisely noted, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” So, embrace the challenge and empower yourself!  


At Psymplicity Healthcare our therapists can offer support for a variety of anxiety disorders. We pride ourselves on offering a warm, calm and comfortable environment where we can talk through your concerns and develop a personalised treatment plan. If you do feel that you or a loved one is struggling with symptoms of anxiety, or any other distressing issues, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Cait Bridgman

Cait Bridgman

Cait is an Assistant Psychologist specialising in CAMHS. She attained a 1st class BSc Psychology (Hons) degree from Nottingham Trent University where she developed an intuitive understanding of psychological theory and methods.

Her studies had special focus on areas including clinical neuropsychology and biological perspectives on mental health and wellbeing. Cait currently assists fully qualified Clinical Psychologists and Consultant Psychiatrists in administering psychometric assessments and writing clinical reports.

Cait is an integral part of service development for the clinic and holds invaluable insight into both the patient experience and customer pathways, liaising with our practitioners across various disciplines.

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