NRNP 6645 Week 7 Assignment Comparing Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy With Other Approaches Essay

This client-centered perspective is the cornerstone of humanistic-existential therapy, which requires therapists to “attempt to receive clients with curiosity and openness, endeavor to grasp their subjective world, and believe that clients are the experts on their own experience” (Wheeler, 2014, p. 373). As the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, it is important to understand that the effectiveness of this approach is dependent on your relationship with clients, as well as your beliefs on holism and human nature.

This week, you compare humanistic-existential therapy with other approaches and justify its use with individual patients.

Wheeler, K. (Ed.). (2014). Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: A how-to guide for evidence-based practice (2nd ed.). Springer Publishing.

Learning Objectives Students will:

Learning Resources

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.)

  • For reference as needed

Nichols, M., & Davis, S. D. (2020). The essentials of family therapy (7th ed.). Pearson.

  • Chapter 7, “Experiential Family Therapy”

Wheeler, K. (Ed.). (2020). Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: A how-to guide for evidence-based practice (3rd ed.). Springer Publishing.

  • Chapter 6, “Humanistic-Existential and Solution-Focused Approaches to Psychotherapy”

Required Media

Optional Media

Biophily 2. (2016, October 4). Abraham Maslow, Rollo May, Carl Rogers – Existential psychology II (1962) [Video]. YouTube.

Bugental, J. (2008). Existential-humanistic psychotherapy [Video].

Assignment: Comparing Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy With Other Approaches

Understanding the strengths of each type of therapy and which type of therapy is most appropriate for each patient is an essential skill of the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner. In this Assignment, you will compare humanistic-existential therapy to another psychotherapeutic approach. You will identify the strengths and challenges of each approach and describe expected potential outcomes.

To prepare:

  • 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.

The Assignment

In a 2- to 3-page paper, address the following:

  • 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.

By Day 7

Submit your Assignment.

Comparing Humanistic Existential Psychotherapy with Other Approaches Sample Paper

Psychotherapy is a viable treatment for a variety of mental health issues. Wheeler (2020) defines psychotherapy as a process of treating emotional difficulties and mental illnesses by way of verbal and psychological techniques. Currently, several psychotherapeutic approaches are in existence including but are not limited to existential therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Humanistic existential psychotherapy is a psychotherapeutic approach that focuses on the human condition as a whole (Wheeler, 2020). 

However, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) which has gained its popularity since its establishment in the 1960s is deployed as a treatment modality for a multitude of mental disorders such as anxiety, substance use disorders, and depression. This piece of writing concentrates on comparing humanistic-existential therapy with cognitive behavioral therapy along with their associated outcomes when used in the treatment of patients.

Humanistic existential therapy uses a positive approach that appreciates human capacities and aspirations while simultaneously acknowledging their limitations (Feizi et al., 2019). This form of psychotherapy is a long-term process that helps an individual get in touch with the real experiences they are feeling. It deals with the last concerns of human beings’ existence such as death along with fears of isolation, meaninglessness, guilt, lack of relationships, and emptiness (Grande, 2019). 

The fundamental aim of this therapy is to enable a patient to reach self-actualization in the presence of existential dilemmas. Nevertheless, existential therapy has been criticized for several reasons. To begin, as opposed to other modalities of psychotherapy, this particular therapy lacks specific and concrete techniques for its administration. Similarly, existential therapy is non directive which at times makes it restrictive and frustrating to the patients (Grande, 2019). 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy on the other hand is a goal-oriented, structured, and deductive hands-on form of therapy in which the therapist and the patient work in a collaborative manner with the target of modifying patterns of behavior and thinking to effectuate beneficial transformation in the patient’s mood and way of living (Fordham et al., 2018). Cognitive-behavioral therapy finds its basis through its theorization of the bidirectional nature of cognitive, physical, emotional, and behavioral relationships. 

CBT has widely been criticized for focusing on individuals’ capacity to change themselves. Also, this therapy receives a setback for dwelling only on specific and current problems without taking a look at the underlying etiologies of mental health conditions. The above two modalities of psychotherapy differ in several ways which are discussed in the subsequent paragraphs.

CBT as a talking therapy focuses on the recognition of maladaptive thoughts and behaviors and subsequently challenges the patient to inaugurate a distinct course of action and thinking to enhance his overall psychological and physical wellbeing (Fordham et al., 2018). Existential therapy on the other hand focuses on evaluating human consciousness of oneself including the core existence which facilitates self-actualization and self-flourishing. Arguably, CBT is a well-structured, directed and designed form of psychotherapy that is utilized in various settings such as individual, family, and group whereas existential therapy, lacks specific concrete techniques, it is nondirective and is greatly elemental in an individual setting (Feizi et al., 2019).

Additionally, CBT emphasizes patient safety and happiness by encouraging the adoption of pristine thoughts and alterations in behaviors in the presence of maladaptive thoughts and behaviors that lead to good psychological and physical wellbeing. Nonetheless, existential therapy strongly contemplates the absence of permanent safety and happiness in life thus prioritizing the formation of identity (Feizi et al., 2019). 

The above dissimilarities are crucial and impact the practice of PMHNP. The PMHNP must recognize the mental health issue of concern and select the appropriate therapy that will be beneficial to the patient based on the pros and cons as well as the distinctive characteristics of each of the above psychotherapeutic modalities.

From the PsychotherapyNet (2009) in the James Bugental live case consultation psychotherapy video, the patient complains of “not feeling alive” and being “constricted in his life” warrants the use of humanistic-existential therapy as the treatment of choice. The rationale behind this is that existential therapy enables self-awareness, authenticity and increases awareness about life decisions. Moreover, this kind of therapy helps an individual find purpose and meaning in life, creates a positive attitude towards life, self-actualizes and self-nourishes an individual.

Therefore, the patient benefited from a deeper discovery of the larger sense of himself (Feizi et al., 2019). Cognitive-behavioral therapy could also be used in the management of the patient in the above video. However, this modality would necessitate the identification of maladaptive behaviors and thoughts behind being “constricted in life” and “not feeling alive” and then imposing a positive change. 

The expected potential outcome with the use of CBT depends on a multitude of factors including patient commitment, effective communication, patient-therapist relationships, and therapist skills (Fordham et al., 2018).  In the event that all the named variables are at optimum, the patient would likely develop novel ways of thinking and positive attitudes towards life.


Psychotherapy is a critical treatment modality for mental health illnesses and emotional difficulties. It is vital to select the appropriate psychotherapeutic technique based on the patient to achieve the most effective patient outcomes. Humanistic existential therapy seeks an in-depth understanding of the large sense of oneself to facilitate self-actualization. CBT deploys the bidirectional interconnection between cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and physical relationships to impact positive change in behavior and thinking for better physical and psychological well being. 

Lastly, the sources used are scholarly since they are peer-reviewed journal articles, published within the last five years and from sites recommended for scholarly articles such as NCBI, PubMed, CINAHL, and MEDLINE.