Monday, September 29, 2014

Basic Dimensions of the Human Condition

Experiential Therapy

Basic Dimensions of the Human Condition

■ The capacity for self awareness:

  • o The greater our awareness, the greater our possibilities for freedom
  • o Awareness is realizing

● We are finite- time is limited
● We have potential, the choice to act or not to act
● Meaning is not automatic- we must seek it
● We are subject to loneliness, meaninglessness, emptiness, guilt and isolation

■ The tension between freedom and responsibility

  • o People are free to choose among alternatives and have a large role in shaping personal destinies
  • o Manner in which we live and what we become are result of our choices
  • o People must accept responsibility for directing own lives

■ Creation of an identity and establishing meaningful relationships

  • o Identity is the courage to be
  • o We must trust ourselves to search within and find our own answers
  • o Our great fear is that we will discover there is no core, no self
  • o Aloneness

● We must tolerate being alone with self
● We must have a relationship with ourselves first

  • o Struggling with identity

● We are trapped in doing mode to avoid experience of being

  • o Relatedness

● At their best our relationships are based on our desire for fulfillment, not our deprivation

■ The search for meaning

  • o Like pleasure, meaning but be pursued

● Finding meaning in life is a byproduct of a commitment to creating, loving, and working

  • o Life is not meaningful in itself, the individual must create and discover meaning
  • o Goals deal with

● Discarding old values
● Coping with meaninglessness
● Creating new meaning

■ Accepting anxiety as a condition of living

  • o Anxiety arises from striving to survive and maintain own being
  • o Existential anxiety is normal- life cannot be lived, not can death be faced, without anxiety

● Anxiety can be a stimulus for growth as we become aware of and accept our freedom
● We can blunt our anxiety by creating the illusion that there is security to life
● If we have the courage to face ourselves and life we may be frightened, but we will be able to change

  • o Neurotic anxiety creates guilt

■ The awareness of death and nonbeing

  • o Awareness of death is a basic human condition which gives significant to our living
  • o We must think about death if we are to think significantly about life
  • o If we defend against death our lives can become meaningless
  • o We learn to live in the “now”
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