Therapy: A Closer Look

 Existentialist Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
What is That?

Existentialist Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (ECBT) is rooted in these principles;

  • Emotional pain and behavioral struggle are most often related to the inherent challenges of being human in a difficult and unpredictable world.
  • Therefore, most emotional and behavioral dififculty does not indicate “mental illness”, but rather, a natural response to loss, frustrations, challenges, and obstacles.
  • Although periods of pain are inevitable in life, we are capable of learning how to cope more effectively and to reduce suffering in our lives.
  • We are also capable of learning to enhance our satisfaction, pleasure, peace, and contentment.
  • Therapy helps us achieve these changes when that therapy is based in a respectful understanding and deep engagement with your values, perspectives, and priorities.
  • That kind of awareness can be achieved in a working relationship with an experienced professional who is committed, first and foremost, to your well-being and personal dignity.
  • We understand the past through a compassionate lens, but our greatest opportunities for making change are found in current connections and present actions.
  • Your therapist is your experienced partner in identifying and co-creating the actions that will lead to the changes you seek, be they emotional, interpersonal, behavioral, or vocational.

ECBT is focused first on understanding your values, priorities, hopes, and strengths as the foundation for therapy. Authentic and meaningful change is best achieved with attention to what is unique about you and most important to you. Understanding your values, and how they may be strengthening or changing as you move through your life, is woven into all we do together.

ECBT also helps you become aware of long-standing, habitual patterns of thinking that may have outgrown their usefulness in your life, so that you can respond to challenging situations and experiences in more effective ways. All humans develop habits of thinking about themselves, other people, and situations, that may have been helpful at an earlier time in life, but which may cause distress in the present. As we start to develop more helpful ways of thinking about the difficulties and challenges we face, we become empowered to respond to people and situations more flexibly and creatively, opening up the potential for better personal relationships, improved success in the workplace, decreased stress, and improved self-regard and self-confidence.

The nexus of good therapy is found in a compassionate, respectful working relationship in which we have skillful support to: understand ourselves, accept ourselves, experience gentle shifts in perspective, and gradually implement changes in our choices and actions.

ECBT is useful for a  wide array of challenges, situations, and goals. It is not a single technique, but an overall approach, philosophy, and road-map for psychotherapy.

For example, ECBT can help you:

  • Learn skills for coping with stressful life situations, such as problems at work, or challenges in family life or parenting or care-giving.
  • Cope with medical illness and the changes or limitations that illness may impose
  • Manage physical symtpoms such as pain, insomnia, or fatigue so that they have less negative impact on your life.
  • Master new ways of responding to difficult emotions, such as anger, sadness, or anxiety.
  • Learn how to reduce the impact of diagnosed emotional or behavioral conditions such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use or alcohol concerns.
  • Resolve relationship conflicts and improve communication with others.
  • Cope with grief, such as after the loss of a loved one.
  • Overcome emotional trauma related to events in your past
  • Enahce the benefit you obtain through using your prescribed medications, or help you make changes without needing psychoactive medication.

If you would like to explore whether ECBT may be helpful for you, please feel free to contact me for a detailed, cost-free telephone consultation.

Dr. Jon Richard
Colorado Clinical & Consulting Psychology, LLC
Tel: 303-475-7987