Existential group psychotherapy shares much in common with other dynamic, relational, and humanistic approaches to group psychotherapy but emphasizes work that addresses anxieties generated by inescapable conditions of ordinary human existence. Generally, existential factors are woven into the fabric of group psychotherapy, though existential group approaches are also used as a stand-alone model.

Historical Context

Existential group psychotherapy arises out of existential philosophy, which prioritizes an individual’s experience in creating meaning and taking personal responsibility for self-determination. Key contributors to existential thought include Martin Buber, Paul Tillich, and Søren Kierkegaard, who challenged traditional religious dogma as a guide to living life and offered more nuanced, some say complex, positions on religious thought. In addition, other philosophers, such as Martin Heidegger, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Jean-Paul Sartre, developed their ...

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