Client Popula Tion

Teenagers are open to this type of introspection. Teens may desperately need to explore the sources of their angst and insecurities. By labeling their subjective "highs" and "lows" as meaningful existential issues, they can better accept their feelings and beliefs as valuable and necessary. Older adults may also learn from this exercise and compare past experiences to the matrix of existential principles to obtain meaning from them.


The group therapist at the beginning of a session asks group members to take turns expressing their highs and lows. Define highs in simple terms such as something relatively current that one is glad about, and lows as something recent that is causing disappointment. Listen carefully and link each response to an existential issue such as success or delays in accomplishing one's purpose in life, losses or gains in relationships, or increases/decreases in freedom. Once you have identified the type of existential issue expressed, it will serve as a springboard to further self-exploration and awareness. You can comment on the uncovered issues either in between the group members' individual turns, or afterward, processing similarities, and who was sympathetic, indifferent, or hostile to whom.

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