chapter  3
14 Pages

Theory of the Existential-Integrative (EI) Approach

Therapy as Liberation Conditions/Consciousness as Liberation Levels e chief aim of existential-integrative (EI) therapy, as Rollo May (1981) put it, is “to set people free” — physically, mentally, and spiritually (p. 19). For our purposes, freedom is the perceived capacity for choice within the natural and self-imposed limitations of living. ese limitations include (but are not exhausted by) culture, genes, biology, and cosmic destiny, such as earthquakes (May, 1981). e maximization of freedom, then, is the core emphasis of EI therapy; moreover, there are many levels at which such freedom (choice) can be maximized (e.g., the physiological, the cognitive-behavioral, the interpersonal, and so on). ere are also a range of proximities (e.g., from the relatively external — physical — to the relatively internal — attitudinal) with which people can experience freedom. Now the great question, of course, is how to facilitate such liberation and under what conditions.