Discuss the Idea That People Are Basically Alone. What Are the Implications for Counseling Practice?

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Existentialism, as we learn from our textbook, (Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy by Gerald Corey, 2011) is best described as an approach which is philosophical and that which influences a counselor’s therapeutic process. It stipulates the assumption that every human person is free and is responsible for his or her actions. In short, Existentialism is concerned with finding self and meaning of life through free will, choice and personal responsibility. There is the belief that throughout life, people are searching to find out who they are or what they are as they make choices which are based on their outlook, their experiences and their beliefs. Personal choices become unique without necessarily employing any objective form of truth such as laws and ethnic or traditional rules. For an Existentialist like Rollo May (1909 – 1994, www.webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/may.html), whether the person becomes good or bad is a matter of personal choice. Existentialism objects in toto when someone or society tries to impose or demand that their beliefs, values or rules be faithfully accepted and obeyed. This destroys individualism and makes a person become whatever the people in power desire. This dehumanizes and reduces the person to being an object. Therefore, a person’s judgment is the determining factor for what is to be believed rather than the external religious or secular values. “The Existentialists maintain that part of the human condition is the experience of aloneness…. The sense of isolation comes when we recognize that we cannot depend on anyone else for our own confirmation; that is, we alone must give a sense of meaning to life, and alone must decide how we will live” (Corey G. (2011) p. 143 - 144). According to the theory of existentialism, aloneness is an unavoidable condition of our humanity. It resides in the innermost being of the

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