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B-Awake Articles - June 2014

Existential Psychotherapies: An Introduction

by Benjamin Tong, Ph.D.

(A version of this essay appeared in the February 2013 issue of The Carlat Report: Psychiatry)

Psychotherapy provided near the end of a patient’s life focuses on existential themes. While the term “existential” conjures up questions like “why am I here?” and issues about meaninglessness, death, and our limited lifespan, existential therapy is about much more: an awareness of oneself, one’s freedom to make choices, and one’s capacity to remove obstacles to “authentic existence.”

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Dr. Benjamin Tong has maintained for many years a longstanding interest in mind-body health, cross-cultural studies and critical social inquiry.  One of the original group of faculty and students who shut down San Francisco State University in the late 1960s in order to demand creation of the first university-level ethnic studies program.

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