What are existential questions?

Existential questions are questions about life, such as:

You’re at a crossroads in your life and don’t know which way to go. This is constantly on your mind, you worry about it and maybe even sleep less because of it. But because you’re not able to make a choice, you’re stuck in the situation. By entering into a dialogue with your friends, family or colleagues you hope to find support and a solution. However, sometimes this doesn’t bring you what you need, so it may be time to find a professional.

Where do existential questions come from?

Our existence is something we all struggle with. Everybody has to deal with the fact that our life is finite. Sometimes this leads to a sense of meaninglessness, but also to creativity or freedom. It can lead to philosophical considerations or practical implications. Irvin Yalom distinguishes four existential fears: Death, Freedom, Isolation and Meaninglessness. Everybody comes into contact with it at some point in their life.

 

But it’s possible to get stuck. For example when you have the feeling you simply can’t make a choice or when you feel very lonely. The reason why some people are more sensitive to this than others, has to do with personality structure and life history. When you get stuck in existential questions, you can experience fear, sadness, sleeplessness, excessive worrying and/or frustration.

The treatment of existential questions

To help you with your specific existential questions, we can explore and use one or more of the following steps in the treatment together:

Explanation

Explanation about why we have existential questions.

Research

Discovering what questions you have and where they come from.

Exploration

Exploring why you get stuck and what parts of yourself play a role in this.

Answers

Small steps that you can take to come to your own answers.

Getting closer to your own answers

Existential questions, by definition, don’t have simple answers. You could even state that there’s never a complete answer. But I can help you get closer to the answers that you need to move forward in life.

 

At Psychologist Groningen you can plan regular sessions or plan a package of three sessions with which you can work on a specific question. For example: “How can I make this decision?”

 

If you already want to get to work on your own, take a look at the following resources.

Do you want to get started on your recovery?

Take a look at the following resources:

Books of Irvin Yalom

Dr. Irvin Yalom has written multiple books about existentialism in different formats. Each is a great read.

The importance of having fun

Discover why it’s important to incorporate a simple concept like ‘having fun’ (12:34 min).

What is existentialism?

A short, good read about what existentialism is.