What is the Future of Existential Psychology?
Existential psychology, which focuses on the choices people make and the meaning they find in their lives, is enjoying a renaissance in China and parts of Europe, while an increasing number of studies show that its techniques and approaches are often as or more effective than drug treatments.
Now The New Existentialists, a leading movement in existential psychology out of Saybrook University, is introducing a series of articles looking to the future of existential theory and practice. The articles, which examine how therapies that focus on personal insight can make their mark in a culture that values quick fixes, will be written by established existential scholars as well as students and early career professionals. Louis Hoffman, PhD, chair of Saybrook’s Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology specialization and president of the American Psychological Association’s division for humanistic psychology, wrote the inaugural post of the series.
“The New Existentialists project is not intended to just be a reflection of current existential scholarship and applications,” Hoffman explained. “We intend to be a creative force shaping the future of existential psychology. If existential psychology cannot adapt to address contemporary issues and be relevant in various cultural contexts, then it should fade away into irrelevance. We hope this series will create a dialog of perspectives that will help us better envision where existential psychology needs to go. In other words, we intend this series to be more than a collection of opinions, but rather an active conversation that helps shape the future of existential psychology.”
While a recent review in the American Psychological Association's website suggested that existential therapies are at the heart of any effective therapy, the road to popular use is blocked by pharmaceutical companies with billions of dollars to pour into marketing campaigns, and insurance companies that don't like to support therapeutic treatment that focuses on individualized approaches.
The New Existentialists will run a new article in this series every Thursday. Each week a new voice ranging from luminaries in the field to new voices trying to set up a practice or complete their education will weigh in on this question: where is existential psychology going, and how do we get there?
The introduction was launched January 31. It can be found, along with each new article in the series, at The New Existentialists (http://www.NewExistentialists.com).