Comparison Essay Sample: Humanistic Vs Existential Psychotherapy

Published: 2022-03-11
Comparison Essay Sample: Humanistic Vs Existential Psychotherapy
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Psychology
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1406 words
12 min read

Psychotherapy may take many approaches. These approaches have been schematized into two broad categories namely; existential and humanistic. This paper examines three articles two of which lean on the humanistic category while one leans on the existential category. Two of these articles are what one would describe as 'tried-and-tested' while one is a hypothesis that may be disapproved but is still useful.

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Logotherapy and Existentialism

Logotherapy refers to a kind of therapy in which a psychiatrist guides a client with emphasis on self-knowledge using scientific methods. Frankl insists that, unlike other psychotherapeutic procedures, logotherapy is more of an art and not procedural like the others (1967). He alludes to three of his speeches where he uses this skill in psychiatric exercise. Also, he puts into consideration the fact that other theorists in psychiatry contributed towards logotherapy. For instance, he mentions Freud who thought he had achieved a psychiatric milestone when actually he had discovered logotherapy unaware. The reference to Frankl's theory as a skill is based on the fact that he himself refused to acknowledge the same as a procedure or a technique but an art. He associated it with existentialism.Existentialism refers to the self-knowledge that someone possesses in relation to the liveliness present in their interactions with their fellow human beings. According to Frankl, without it, there is a lot of hollowness in human interactions. Essentially, he uses an example in the communication between two parties where he asserts that there is always an underlying matter concealed in the conversations which have the capacity to bring the conversations into liveliness. In psychiatry, the procedures become ineffective if there is no connection between the patient (client) and the doctor (therapist). Instead of treating patients like numbers which are manipulated through procedures and formulae, Frankl insists, that every encounter must be given a human touch. Instead of doctors instructing patients what to do with their lives, they should guide and help them to discover on their own their purpose in life.

Applications of Logotherapy and Existentialism

Logotherapy, when used side by side with existentialism, can be used to diagnose a psychiatric condition. Also, it can be used to treat the same.

Psychological Data and Human Values

This theory combines two aspects in approaching the various psychiatric issues. It emphasizes that the solution to most neurosis lie within the patient themselves (Maslow, 1962). It considers several empirical experiments to arrive at this conclusion. In its suggestive way, there exist many indications that this is a growing field with a wide range of feasible research activities. In this sense, animals, as well as human beings, have proven that the solution to most psychological problems often lies within themselves.

This technique of offering therapeutic services leans on the humanistic theory. This theory upholds that to help an individual, certain general principles, as well as individualistic traits, must be used hand in hand. Generally, people's choices determine their states of health. These choices include but are not limited to, choice of good diet, keeping a positive mindset, having a purpose to strive for in life in what is called self-awareness and self-actualization. Individually, it is important that the doctor understands the specific differences between patients as what is of value to one person may not necessarily be of more value to the other. Strong and healthy people make the controls in the empirical experiments that develop this theory. Doctors use what people hold in high esteem to treat them and or prescribe medications. Also, dreams and goals make treatments in some instances where patients may be contemplating suicide. Therefore, the positivity from within challenges the negative impulses in an attempt to have the patients heal themselves as if it were up to their intrinsic mechanisms.

A human being lives in an environment with which they interact. This environment shapes them in certain ways and may be used to treat them. The bottom line is that to heal a neurotic person, according to Maslow, a doctor should strive to meet the basic needs of the patients or at least help them do so. This theory works in some order as the most immediate needs are met first. Doctors study the strengths of patients in order to treat them at the time of their weakness.


Psychological Data and Human Value can be applied in guidance and counseling of High School students. The counselor should identify what is valuable to the patient and use it to motivate them. The counselor can also appreciate them for deprivation of the same may make the students stressed.

The Compulsory Conditions of Therapeutic Personality Change

This is a humanistic and a hypothetical approach. Rogers, in this theory, suggests that for an individual with psychiatric challenges to be helped there must be in existence, six conditions which satisfactorily eliminate the challenges (2007). The objective here is that at the end of the therapy, there must be a significant change in the traits of the patient in a constructive manner. That is to say, if the psychological issue made the patient exhibit primitive behavioral traits, they must at the end develop and exhibit mature traits. This theory focuses on the patient's inner self and response. It pays more attention to the real interaction between the patient and their therapist. The six conditions illustrate the humanistic nature of this theory.

The Pre-requisite Conditions of Therapeutic Personality Change

Contact between the patient and their doctor. There must be a solid but cordial relationship between the clients with the doctor. This relationship must be genuine and professional but characterized by empathy.

The patient has to be weak and vulnerable. The patient has to be in a position in which he or she is scared, feeling weak and is helpless. That is to say, their problem has to be real and has a significant and psychologically destabilizing effect on them.

The doctor has to be strong. The therapist has to be a competent professional who is endowed with skills to guide the patient wisely in order to help them overcome their psychological situation.

The doctor has to attend to the patient without any bias. The doctor has to regard the client with an absolutely positive mindset. The doctor has to suppress or ignore every negative impulse that wrongly profiles their client.

The doctor must put themselves in the shoes of the patient. This specific condition brings out the humanistic nature of this theory clearly. That is to say, it upholds the idea that the solutions to an individual's psychiatric problems lie deep within them. Therefore, for the doctor to be of any assistance, they have to connect with the patient and feel what they feel, see what they see, and virtually touch the situation of their client.

The patient must understand the doctor's position. The client must also be aware of what the doctor is. That is to say, the doctor has to be real with themselves as well as with the patient. They must not deny anything they dislike but be genuinely honest with the patient. This establishes trust between the two which is humanistic and crucial for the success of this technique.Once these six conditions exist and are fully met then the psychotherapeutic exercise becomes a success. They are a pre-requisite for any significant change to occur at the end of the therapy.


This hypothesis is helpful in situations where clients are diagnosed with incurable diseases. In this kind of a situation, they need a close connection with the people that give them psychological support, the therapists. Such clients are truly weak and scared. The therapists are also in such cases strong. The only adjustment required is that the doctor becomes genuine and also really put themselves in the shoes of the patients.

In conclusion, those theories are quite applicable in modern guidance and counseling or therapy sessions. Also, they are practical and can be used individually or in various combinations. Actually, combining one of the humanistic techniques with logotherapy is a match perfect combination in psychiatry. It would also be a good idea to have nurses trained in these methods for they are quite compatible with nursing.


Frankl, V. E. (1967). Logotherapy and existentialism (3rd ed., Vol. 4). Vienna, Austria: University of Vienna Medical School.

Maslow, A. H. (1962). Psychological data and human values. Princeton, New Jersey: D Van Nostrand.

Rodgers, C. R. (2007). The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions at the Half Century Mark (3rd ed., Vol. 44). Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago.

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