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Existential Psychotherapy Quotes

There is nothing in the worldthat would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions, as the knowledge that there is meaning in ones life. There is much wisdom in the words of Nietzsche: He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. (Frankl, Mans Search Meaning, p. 106) Life is a spark between two identical voids, the darkness before birth and the one after death. (Yalom, When Nietzsche Wept, p. 230) We humans appear to be meaning-seeking creatures who have had the misfortune of being thrown into a world devoid of intrinsic meaning. One of our major tasks is to invent a meaning sturdy enough to support a life and to perform the tricky maneuver of denying our personal authorship of this meaning. (Yalom, The Gift of Therapy, p. 133) The ultimate evil is that Time is perpetual perishing, and being actual involves elimination. The nature of evil may be epitomized, therefore, in two simple but horrible and holy propositions: Things fade and Alternatives exclude. (Gardener, Grendel, p. 114) The future, in contrast to present or past, is the dominant mode of time for human beings. Personality can be understood only as we see it on a trajectory toward its futurethe person is always becoming, always emerging into the future. (May, Discovery of Being, p. 139) We are also controlled by the not yetby our projections into the future.We are as pulled by the magnet of the future as we are pushed by the deterministic thrust of the past. (Yalom, Every Day Gets Closer, p. 224) If we permit ourselves to screen out or bracket the everyday concerns of lifewe inevitably arrive at the deep structures of existencedeath, isolation, meaning in life, and freedom. (Yalom, Gift of Therapy, p. xvii) Death represents one of lifes inescapable truths that life fades and that we all fear the fading and ultimately the loss of life. As we embrace this truth, we open the possibility to reprioritize our lives and live more fully, authentically, and meaningfully. (Cain, Humanistic Psychotherapies, p. 27) For every yes there must be a no. To decide one thing means to relinquish something elseDecisions are very expensive, they cost your everything else. Renunciation invariably accompanies decision. One must relinquish options, often options that will never come again. (Yalom, Existential Psychotherapy, p. 318) Suddenly I understood lifes most obvious fact: that time is irreversible, that my life was running out. Of course, I knew that before, but knowing it at forty was a different kind of knowing. Now I know that the lad of infinite promise was merely a marching banner, that promise is an illusion, that infinite is meaningless, and that I am in lockstep with all other men marching toward death. (Yalom, When Nietzsche Wept, p. 190) I have seen many people die because life for them was not worth living. From this I conclude that the question of lifes meaning is the most urgent question of all. (Camus in Yalom, Existential Psychotherapy, p. 420) Though the physicality of death destroys us, the idea of death may save us. (Yalom, Gift of Therapy, p. 126) We feel ourselves guilty on account of the unused life, the unlived life in us. (Rank in Yalom, Existential Psychotherapy, p. 278) This striving to find a meaning in ones life is the primary motivational force in man. (Frankl, Mans Search for Meaning, p. 104) Existentialism, in short, is the endeavor to understand man by cutting below the cleavage between subject and object which has bedeviled Western thought and science... (May, Existence, p. 49) Again and again one encounters a basic fact of life in psychotherapy research: the precision of the result is directly proportional to the triviality of the variables studied. A strange type of science!

______________________________________________________________________________ Erik Sween, Psy.D, University of Denver, Professional Psychology CPSY 5250

(Yalom, Existential Psychotherapy, p. 24)

______________________________________________________________________________ Erik Sween, Psy.D, University of Denver, Professional Psychology CPSY 5250