Existential Therapy - a very brief introduction

The existential approach to therapy asks what it means to be alive and to struggle

Like Comment

The existential approach to psychotherapy is philosophically-based. Its focus is our life. It asks what it means to be alive and struggle. Its main goal is to help us find meaning in our suffering.

In practice, it will be a bit as if we are having a conversation, but one that is just about you. I provide a safe and confidential therapy setting where you will be able to take a dep breath and pause, be heard and hear yourself.

No subject is off-limits. We can talk about whatever is important to you and look at how you relate to yourself, other people and the world. I will not ask you to discuss anything that you do not want to discuss nor will I tell you what to do.

In my role as an existential analyst I will seek to:

  • emphasise a description of your experiences and a reflection upon them rather than an interpretation or a 'why'
  • sit with you without judgment
  • use our therapist-client relationship to understand how you relate to yourself, to others and to the world
  • help you reveal that what may be concealed
  • look at what is there rather than what we would like to be there
  • stay open to any possibility
  • avoid set agendas or planned outcomes
  • make use of philosophical concepts to frame my work

With the help of an existential analyst, you may gain some insight into your existence and a different perspective on yourself. This may enable you to explore new options and make different choices. It may also help you to cope better with life’s challenges, both today and in the future.

Ondine Smulders

Experienced Existential Psychotherapist. I am here for when life becomes overwhelming. Whatever you face, relationships issues, stress at work, low mood, long term illness, a sense of isolation or bereavement, I can offer you a place to pause, be heard and hear yourself. I will support you as you try to make sense of your experiences and create different possibilities for yourself. Following my own spell in therapy and my work as a volunteer at the Samaritans, I retrained as an Existential Psychotherapist. I have a PgDip and ADEP and am accredited with the UKCP. I have worked across a variety of mental health services including the NHS, Mind and the domestic violence charity, the Woman’s Trust. I currently work in private practice in EC1 and W1, and am an associate at Therapy Harley Street. I also work as a counsellor at Breast Cancer Haven. Before retraining, I spent more than a decade in Investment Banking and 13 years in a think-tank where I personally experienced the stressful nature of highly competitive work environments. My on-going role as a member of the supervisory board at an energy-services company allows me to maintain my business interest and involvement.