Existential Therapy: Moderate Effectiveness

Moderate effectiveness: 0.54

What is Existential Therapy?

1. Rooted in existentialism, existential therapy focuses on individual freedom to choosebryan-goff-395922-unsplash one’s values and freedom in life, with an emphasis on authentic living in the present moment.

2. Inner conflict is due to inevitability of death, freedom and its attendant responsibility, existential isolation, and finally meaninglessness.

3. Life has meaning under all circumstances. Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy includes as one of its basic tenets that life has meaning under all circumstances – even under suffering. Meaninglessness then is meaning not yet discovered.

4. Clients discover their free will in order to live according to their own desires.

5. Client can choose new meanings for their lives.

6. By building, loving, and creating, one is able to live life as one’s own adventure. One can accept one’s own mortality and overcome the fear of death. Clients can revel in the freedom to choose and take full responsibility for their choices.



0.65 moderate effect: increased positive meaning in life (Vos, Craig, & Cooper, 2015)

0.57 moderate effect: increased positive meaning in life at follow-up (Vos, Craig, & Cooper, 2015)

0.47 small to moderate effect: improved psychopathology (Vos, Craig, & Cooper, 2015)

0.48 small to moderate effect: improved self-efficacy (Vos, Craig, & Cooper, 2015)



Vos, J., Craig, M., & Cooper, M. (2015). Existential therapies: A meta-analysis of their effects on psychological outcomes. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology, 83(1), 115-128. doi:10.1037/a0037167

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