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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

A set of principles underlies Existential-Humanistic (E-H) therapy and guides the therapeutic change process. These principles uphold the ethical values of dignity of human beings and the sanctity of human connections. Moreover, their implementation, it is presumed, effectively transforms lives. The practice of E-H therapy presents ethical challenges for its practitioners because it relies not on a medical treatment model but rather on an existential-humanistic healing model. This model does not focus on diagnosing and treating symptoms. Instead, it supports an understanding of how each client is uniquely coping with his or her existence. Practicing therapy in this way may be more challenging ethically, precisely because there are no standardized protocols or treatment interventions to rely upon. In the first section of this chapter, four ethical principles of E-H therapy are paired with several potential ethical challenges arising from them. In subsequent sections, these principles and related challenges are explored more extensively, illuminated with relevant case vignettes.

Keywords: Existential-Humanistic psychotherapy, cultivation of presence, meaning making, therapists’ personal contexts, self-constructed worlds, Existential-Humanistic healing model of therapy, relational intimacy and authenticity, experiential learning, Existential-Humanistic model of supervision, existential issues in therapy

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