Brief Description of Humanistic-existential Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Brief Description of Humanistic-existential Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Humanistic-existential psychotherapy

The case conceptualization, therapeutic objectives, intervention techniques, and research methods used in humanistic and existential psychotherapies are very diverse. They are connected by a priority placed on comprehending the human experience and a client-centered approach as opposed to a symptom-focused one. The inability to make genuine, worthwhile, and independent decisions about how to live is seen as the root cause of psychological issues, including substance abuse disorders. Interventions therefore attempt to improve client being aware of oneself and self-awareness

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Changing one’s thoughts and behaviors can help people manage their difficulties. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a talking treatment. Although it can be helpful for various mental and physical health problems, it is most frequently used to treat anxiety and depression. The foundation of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the idea that a person’s ideas, feelings, physical sensations, and behaviors are all interrelated and that negative emotions and thoughts can keep people stuck in a cycle of negativity. By dividing large difficulties into manageable pieces, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) tries to assist people in dealing with them in a more constructive manner. It searches for doable strategies to elevate a person’s mood on a daily basis.

Differences between humanistic-existential psychotherapy and CBT

CBT and humanistic-existential psychotherapy have their differences. One of the differences is the basis of the therapy. While CBT is based on change of behavior and psychiatricmanifestations, humanistic-existential psychotherapy is centered on the goals of the client and is subjective in nature (Dr. Todd Grande, 2016). Both the approaches are centered on improving thewell-being of the client. However, Schneider (2016) states that humanistic-existential psychotherapy is formulated to help patients understand how their present goals are influenced by past experiences. On the other hand, CBT targets patient cognition and behavior alteration with the focus on gaining self-growth (Cao et al., 2021). Humanistic-existential psychotherapy extends beyond behavior change and social conditioning as the patient seeks to find the self to establish purpose and meaning in their life (Thinking Allowed TV, 2010). Practicing PMHNP thus use the differences in recognizing the needs go the client and applying them to the different patients based on these needs (APA, 2017).

CBT also differs from existential-humanistic therapy as CBT is founded on psychiatric foundations and empirical evidence that are applicable by focusing on the cognitive and behavioral aspects of the patient to achieve improved well-being for the patient (Cao et al., 2021). On the other hand, the humanistic-existential psychotherapy is based on philosophical aspects without empirical evidence that some professionals consider vague (Schneider, 2016). The foundations on philosophical theories and the combination of different therapies and theoriesmay limit humanistic-existential psychotherapy (Dr. Todd Grande, 2016). PMHNP can thus use the application empirical evidence in practice and it is important to ensure that in selection of therapy methods for application, they need to be evidence-based to ensure that they are effective (APA, 2017).

Why humanistic-existential psychotherapy was utilized

4The James Bugental Live case showed the application of the existential-humanistic approach for a patient that was not feeling alive anymore and had lost as sense of self-direction (PsychotherapyNet, 2009). In this case, the patient feels that there is no meaning in life and thus the existential-humanistic was selected since it centers on the patient and aims to ensure that theyregain control and is responsible for self-direction (Dr. Todd Grande, 2016). The focus was on past personal experiences as the therapist sought to help the patient search for purpose and establish life meaning. The method was thus selected as the patient sought to achieve self-actualization. If the CBT approach was selected, patient outcomes may not have been achieved since the patient had originally gone to therapy but did not improve. The patient’s situation is complex and while CBT would have achieved change in behavior, it would not have found out why the patient has lost meaning in life using history. CBT is focused on cognition and behavioral change without consideration of past experience (Cao et al., 2021). Therefore, it would not have been effective since the main reason for the patient loosing meaning in life is based on history. Therefore, in this case the use of past experience to achieve better patient outcome and self-actualization was important.The videos used in this paper provide important information. The other sources selected are scholarly peer reviewed sources since they are published in recognized health and scientific journals and have been reviewed by other scholars in the psychiatry and psychology field before publishing. Some of the characteristics that make these sources credible include authors being recognized professionals such as nursing students, theorists, and educators, provision of a reference list, and are long.


American Psychological Association. (APA). (2022). American Psychiatric Association. (2022). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed., text rev.).…

Cao, R., Yang, X., Luo, J., Wang, P., Meng, F., Xia, M., He, Y., Zhao, T., & Li, Z. (2021). The effects of cognitive behavioral therapy on the whole brain structural connectome in unmedicated patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 104. DOI:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2020.110037

Dr. Todd Grande (2016). Theories of Counseling – Existential Therapy. YouTube Video. Retrieved from

Praveen, K. C. (2020). Existential-Humanistic Psychology, Mindfulness and Global Change. International Institute for Humanistic Studies, 1-17.

PsychotherapyNet. (2009). James Bugental Live Case Consultation Psychotherapy Video. YouTube Video. Retrieved from

Thinking Allowed TV (2010). James Bugental: Humanistic Psychotherapy (excerpt) — A Thinking Allowed DVD w/ Jeffrey Mishlove. YouTube Video. Retrieved from


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