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Psychotherapy With Multiple Modalities


To meet individual needs, mental health uses several therapy approaches. This assignment compares humanistic-existential psychotherapy and another chosen technique, Cognitive behavioral therapy, examining their differences and potential effects on PMHNP practice. Humanistic-existential psychotherapy emphasizes self-development, self-awareness, and life meaning. CBT, on the other hand, addresses negative thoughts and actions. PMHNPs must understand these distinctions to customize client treatment. This assignment also analyzes a video to determine why humanistic-existential psychotherapy was chosen and speculates on the results of the second chosen therapy.

Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy and the Selected Approach

Humanistic-Existential Psychotherapy

Humanistic-existential psychotherapy focuses on personal growth, self-awareness, and subjective experience (Fatehi et al., 2020). It addresses the meaning and purpose of human existence using humanistic psychology and existential philosophy (Grande, 2016). Self-actualization and exploring one’s unique potential are emphasized in this therapy. This approach emphasizes self-awareness in treatment. Therapists give patients a secure, nonjudgmental space to express their thoughts, feelings, and concerns. They help clients understand their experiences and become more self-aware by building a therapeutic connection based on empathy and unconditional positive regard. This approach empowers people to take charge of their development by recognizing personal agency and responsibility.

Humanistic-existential psychotherapy emphasizes existential topics, including searching for meaning and investigating values and beliefs (Grande, 2016). The client and therapist work through existential dilemmas and anxieties to find their life’s meaning. These inquiries can help people create a more authentic sense of self and link their activities with their values and objectives (Fatehi et al., 2020). It also values the present moment in therapy. This strategy prioritizes the present while embracing past experiences and future worries (Grande, 2016). Focusing on the present helps people understand their current experiences and make decisions that match their values and aspirations.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy as the Selected Approach

CBT targets negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to alleviate psychological discomfort (Heidenreich et al., 2021). Individuals’ beliefs about themselves, others, and the world affect their emotional and behavioral responses to situations. The therapist and client find dysfunctional thought patterns and behaviors in goal-oriented CBT. Cognitive restructuring involves confronting and changing irrational or negative thoughts throughout therapy. Clients are urged to explore the data supporting and opposing their beliefs to build more balanced and realistic perspectives.

This approach uses numerous methods to change clients’ behavior. Exposure treatment gradually confronts dreaded circumstances to diminish anxiety, while behavioral activation involves rewarding activities to reduce depression and promote motivation (Heidenreich et al., 2021). CBT has strong empirical support for treating mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (Fatehi et al., 2020). CBT’s regulated and time-limited aspect enables targeted work on specific issues and a defined therapy plan (Heidenreich et al., 2021). Clients learn to handle difficult emotions and situations with cognitive and behavioral strategies. Addressing negative thought patterns and maladaptive behaviors improves emotional well-being and functioning.

Differences between the Two Therapies and Their Impact on PMHNP Practice


Humanistic-existential psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focus differently. Humanistic-existential psychotherapy emphasizes self-awareness, subjective experience, and personal progress (Fatehi et al., 2020). It examines values, life’s meaning, and individual potential. This approach promotes self-reflection on one’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences; cognitive-behavioral therapy, in contrast, focuses on addressing these negative attitudes that contribute to psychological distress (Heidenreich et al., 2021). CBT helps people build more adaptive ideas and actions by confronting and changing cognitive distortions and illogical beliefs. The therapist and client discover and reframe negative thought patterns and change maladaptive behaviors.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) practice is affected by these two therapy methods’ foci. The client’s wants and preferences are essential in PMHNP practice. Humanistic-existential psychotherapy can help people explore their values, meaning in life, and existential concerns via personal growth and self-awareness. This method may work for customers who value self-reflection and want to understand themselves better. The focus of CBT on cognitive and behavioral transformation makes it suited for those seeking practical ways to address specific symptoms or issues (Chapman et al., 2019). CBT’s structure and goals allow for targeted interventions and verifiable results. Knowing these therapeutic approaches as a PMHNP enables a more personalized and client-centered approach to care. PMHNPs can assess and match clients’ requirements and treatment goals with the best therapeutic strategy by recognizing the differences between humanistic-existential psychotherapy and CBT.

Role of the Therapist

Humanistic-existential psychotherapy is facilitated by the therapist, who provides support and empathy. A secure space for self-exploration and personal growth is created by the therapist’s unconditional positive regard (Grande, 2016). The therapist encourages the client to explore their subjective experience, emotions, and thoughts to assist them in understanding their values, meaning in life, and existential problems (ThinkingAllowedTV, 2010). On the other hand, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is more directive (Heidenreich et al., 2021). CBT therapists teach specific skills and use systematic interventions. They help clients recognize negative thought patterns and actions that cause psychological distress (Heidenreich et al., 2021). The client and therapist work together to change these negative thoughts and actions.

The therapist’s role in these two approaches significantly impacts the therapeutic process. The therapist’s empathy and support build a strong therapeutic bond in humanistic-existential psychotherapy (ThinkingAllowedTV, 2010). The client’s examination of personal difficulties, self-awareness, and responsibility depends on this interaction. The therapist doesn’t interpret or offer solutions, letting the client uncover their insights and growth potential. However, in CBT, the therapist’s active and directive position allows them to guide the client in an organized and goal-oriented manner. For clients seeking practical tactics and skill-building to address specific disorders like anxiety or depression, this structured approach is effective.

Understanding the therapist’s involvement in these two approaches is crucial for PMHNPs. Humanistic-existential therapy allows PMHNPs to build trust, empathy, and acceptance; they also help customers explore values, meaning, and personal growth (Chapman et al., 2019). PMHNPs can teach cognitive and behavioral skills and provide organized interventions in CBT hence helping clients change and improve by tailoring their therapy to their needs and goals.

Time Orientation

Humanistic-existential psychotherapy focuses on the present and the individual’s subjective experience (Grande, 2016). The therapy examines how past and future events affect the person’s current state and functioning. Self-awareness and personal growth can be enhanced by understanding how past events and future objectives affect the present moment (Grande, 2016). Individuals can gain insight into their emotions, ideas, and behaviors by exploring the present experience deeply. In contrast, while simultaneously addressing contemporary issues, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) examines how previous experiences affect current attitudes and behaviors (Heidenreich et al., 2021). According to CBT, past events and learned behaviors can cause psychological suffering in the present. Individuals can improve their functioning and reduce symptoms by identifying and confronting these cognitive and behavioral habits. CBT also emphasizes defining future goals to help people achieve their goals and plan for long-term well-being.

PMHNPs must understand these therapy techniques’ time orientation. Through humanistic-existential psychotherapy, PMHNPs can help clients analyze their present experiences and how past and future factors may affect their well-being (Chapman et al., 2019). This method may benefit clients seeking personal growth, self-awareness, and existential exploration. However, by employing CBT, PMHNPs can help clients identify and challenge harmful ideas and behaviors rooted in past experiences, concentrating on the present while setting goals for the future.

Application in the Provided Video

“James Bugental live case consultation psychotherapy video” shows a humanistic-existential psychotherapy session. The therapist protected and understood the patient (PsychotherapyNet, 2009). The therapist encouraged self-awareness, meaning-seeking, and personal responsibility. They utilized metaphors like the green flag fluttering in gaps and the small leaf attempting to reach the sun to illustrate life energy seeking expression and fulfillment. If cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) had been used instead, the therapeutic approach would have been altered. This is because it is goal-oriented and systematic, recognizing and changing harmful thought patterns and behaviors. The therapist would have challenged and reframed her thoughts to reduce symptoms and increase coping abilities.


Humanistic-existential psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are compared to show their different approaches and features. Humanistic-existential psychotherapy emphasizes human growth, self-awareness, and existential exploration to help one comprehend their values and life’s meaning. However, CBT involves structured interventions to address negative thought patterns and maladaptive behaviors. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) must understand these differences to serve their clients better. PMHNPs can help clients achieve their treatment goals and improve their emotional well-being by adapting the therapeutic approach to their requirements and preferences. PMHNPs can adapt and focus on clients by learning these therapy strategies.


Chapman, S. A., Toretsky, C., & Phoenix, B. J. (2019). Enhancing psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner practice: Impact of state scope of practice regulations. Journal of Nursing Regulation10(1), 35-43.

Fatehi, M., Gordon, R. M., & Florida, O. (2020) A Meta-Theoretical Integration of Psychotherapy Orientations.

Grande, T. (2016, January 9). Theories of counseling – Existential therapy links to an external site. YouTube.

Heidenreich, T., Noyon, A., Worrell, M., & Menzies, R. (2021). Existential approaches and cognitive behavior therapy: Challenges and potential. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy14, 209-234.

PsychotherapyNet. (2009, June 29). James Bugental live case consultation psychotherapy videoLinks to an external site.  YouTube.

ThinkingAllowedTV. (2010, September 20). James Bugental: Humanistic psychotherapy (excerpt) – A thinking Allowed DVD w/ Jeffrey MishloveLinks to an external site. [Video]. YouTube.


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