Briefly describe humanistic-existential psychotherapy and the second approach you selected. 

Briefly describe humanistic-existential psychotherapy and the second approach you selected.

Explain at least three differences between these therapies. Include how these differences might impact your practice as a PMHNP.

Focusing on one video you viewed, explain why humanistic-existential psychotherapy was utilized with the patient in the video and why it was the treatment of choice. Describe the expected potential outcome if the second approach had been used with the patient.

Support your response with specific examples from this week’s media and at least three peer-reviewed, evidence-based sources. Explain why each of your supporting sources is considered scholarly. Attach the PDFs of your sources.

Review the humanistic-existential psychotherapy videos in this week’s Learning Resources.

Reflect on humanistic-existential psychotherapeutic approaches.

Then, select another psychotherapeutic approach to compare with humanistic-existential psychotherapy. The approach you choose may be one you previously explored in the course or one you are familiar with and especially interested in.


Psychotherapy is a type of treatment applied in treating patients with psychological issues. It helps eliminate or control distressing symptoms to help the individual function better and improve their well-being and healing process (Locher et al., 2019). Psychotherapy is used to address issues such as coping difficulties, the impact of trauma, medical illnesses, loss of loved ones, and mental disorders. This paper seeks to compare humanistic-existential therapy with cognitive-behavioral theory and explore why humanistic-existential psychotherapy was utilized in a video.

Humanistic-Existential therapy is a type of psychotherapy approach that focuses on the human condition. It encourages human capacities and aspirations while at the same time recognizing human limitations (Krug, 2019). Besides, it emphasizes acceptance and growth with an assumption that people have the capacity for self-awareness and choice. Humanistic-Existential psychotherapy is anchored upon a basic belief that all individuals undergo intrapsychic conflict from their interaction with particular conditions inherent in human existence (Krug, 2019). The social outcomes of existential-humanistic therapy mostly led to improved self-esteem of an individual. Furthermore, therapists using existential-humanistic therapy help clients to thoughtfully explore their choices and actions during a crisis (Krug, 2019). Existential–humanistic therapy is often employed in clients with trauma, relationship difficulties, psychosis, depression, and those coping with chronic conditions.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy approach that delves into the human mind. It makes individuals aware of their thoughts and how they impact behavior (Fordham et al., 2018). It aims to change thinking patterns and behavior that initiate life challenges and, as a result, change how individuals feel. CBT is founded on several key principles, including psychological problems partly due to faulty or unhelpful thinking patterns. Psychological problems are caused by learned patterns of unhelpful behavior (Fordham et al., 2018). Besides, CBT has an assumption that individuals suffering from psychological distress can learn better ways of coping with them. This alleviates the distress and helps individuals to become more successful in their lives (Fordham et al., 2018). CBT has proven effective in managing anxiety disorders, depression, alcohol and drug use problems, eating disorders, marital problems, and severe mental illness.

Differences between Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy and CBT

Humanistic-existential and CBT vary in their concepts and the therapy approach they use. Humanistic-existential therapy focuses on the overlap to the future and expectations from the future. It seeks to process the expectations in the way they relate to an individual’s need to fulfill the meaning of their life (Miyassarova, 2020). On the other hand, CBT stresses an individual’s actual thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and stresses how they were acquired and maintained (Fordham et al., 2018). Humanistic-existential therapy focuses on the notion of conscious choice and includes the concepts of human consciousness, freedom, intentionality, authenticity, responsibility, and engagement (Miyassarova, 2020). CBT does not stress authenticity, responsibility, and engagement.

Humanistic-existential therapy is optimistic and employs a positive approach that focuses on an individual’s potential to become

better. On the other hand, CBT entails re-training an individual’s thoughts and modifying their behaviors. It only focuses on changing their thoughts and behaviors rather than making one a better person (Fordham et al., 2018). The differences between humanistic-existential and CBT might impact my PMHNP practice since I have to evaluate a client’s needs and identify the best approach to use based on their condition. For instance, if I want to become more aware of himself and the world around him, I will use humanistic-existential therapy. However, if I want the client to modify their thinking patents in order to foster positive behavior, I will employ CBT (Fordham et al., 2018). Besides, clients who seek to understand the meaning, purpose, values, and beliefs of their lives are best suited by humanistic-existential therapy.

Why Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy Was Utilized with the Client

The client in the video ‘Joe’ presented to the therapist with reports of not feeling very alive. The client had attended therapy two years ago and got in touch with some anger issues. Currently, he reports having a difficult time understanding where he is and feels constricted. Humanistic-existential was used in this client to help him develop the capacity for self-awareness and choice (Miyassarova, 2020). Since he does not understand where he is in life, the therapy would help create a personal identity in the client and enable him to be fully present for quality relationships (Miyassarova, 2020). Humanistic-existential therapy was the treatment of choice since it would help Joe search for the meaning, purpose, values, and beliefs of life to have a more meaningful existence.


Humanistic-Existential therapy focuses on the human condition as a whole. It helps individuals develop the capacity for self-awareness and personal identity. It enables clients to identify their morals and other failures. On the other hand, CBT focuses on the human mind. It helps individuals to be aware of their thoughts and how they impact behavior. It is based on the assumption that unhealthy thinking patterns lead to psychological problems.



Fordham, B., Sugavanam, T., Hopewell, S., Hemming, K., Howick, J., Kirtley, S., … & Lamb, S. E. (2018). Effectiveness of cognitive–behavioural therapy: a protocol for an overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. BMJ open8(12), e025761.

Krug, O. T. (2019). Existential‐Humanistic and Existential‐Integrative Therapy: Method and Practice. The Wiley world handbook of existential therapy, 257-266.

Locher, C., Meier, S., & Gaab, J. (2019). Psychotherapy: A World of Meanings. Frontiers in psychology10, 460.

Miyassarova, L. R. (2020). Dynamics of Existential Personality Fulfillment in the Course of Psychotherapy. Behavioral Sciences10(1), 21.