FAQ's


Q: What is ExFT?
A: Existential Family Therapy, abbreviated ExFT, is an existential approach to therapy, working with families and individuals.

Q: What is with those horrible drawings in your blog posts?
A: It's important I model what I challenge my clients to do. Part of that challenge is to live authentic lives and express ourselves! I use to love art, but in college my studies and the demands of life began to edge out my artistic expression. The drawings which accompany my posts are a way for me to truly stretch myself and be vulnerable. It also gives me an opportunity to visually express a concept. 

Q: What does existential mean, exactly?
A: The first five letters contain the meaning of existential: Exist. The goal of existential therapy is to help people live happier, healthier, and more authentic lives by increasing insight, awareness, and the ability to accept the freedom to act authentically on these insights. 
     Authenticity occurs when people intentionally do the right things, for the right reasons, in the right way. Being authentic gives us power over past mistakes and helps create new hope for the future. 

Q: What does systemic mean?
A: Something is "systemic" if it refers to, or is about, systems as opposed to particular parts

Q: Are you a Christian therapist?

A: I am Christian who provides therapy. However, the goals of treatment in ExFT are not focused on conversion or theology. Rather, the focus is to help people live more congruent and authentic lives. Therapy will be sensitive to your individual spiritual needs and will not be decided by my personal beliefs.

Q: Why use scripture in some of your blog posts?
A:  As a Christian, I believe the truths contained in Scripture, like any truth, is universally applicable. Regardless of your personal beliefs in religion, spirituality, or the existence of God, I would ask that you weigh my statements on their own virtue. If my statements stand, or fail to stand, on their own logically and applicable nature. If they do not, then the fallacies must be addressed. Thus the public nature of this blog.
     In addition, my personal background is that of a Christian. It wouldn't be very authentic of me to deny myself and my personal beliefs in an attempt to garner approval from a generic public, now would it?

Q: What does the logo mean?
A: I believe effective therapy must address the psychological, philosophical, and spiritual aspects of the client, family, or system. Physical aspects must be addressed as well, but can be subsumed under psychology (chemical depression, TBI, borderline intellectual functioning, energy levels, overall health, etc.). The logo expresses the unifying and interdependent nature of these aspects by superimposing the Greek symbols for psychology, philosophy, and theology.

Q: What can I expect out of Existential Therapy?
A: Existential Marriage and Family Therapy (ExFT) is rooted in the idea that existential psychotherapy is, at its core, cybernetic and systemic.
     When the field of marriage and family therapy (MFT) first emerged, it focused on helping clients and families see themselves in a larger context. Bowen (one of the first MFT theorists), "felt that severe problems within the family unit stem from a multigenerational transmission process whereby levels of differentiation among family members can become progressively lower from one generation to the next". Yet, the field of MFT, as its generations increase further and further from the founders, has begun to forget their own theoretical grandparents. Existential psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, and several other psychological and philosophical theories and theorists have been relegated to the shelf of things-that-once-mattered. In the process, we have begun to be cutoff from our theoretical progenitors; thereby, effectively, perpetrating the same unhealthy acts we claim to treat. This has occurred to the extent that it is not uncommon for theorists to criticize existential or psychoanalytic theory in an attempt to strengthen their own theoretical position.
     ExFT is not designed to bring the past into the present or prevent the field of MFT from growing and developing. Instead, it is my hope that by showing how existentialism already contains the aspects of cybernetic and systemic thought, its powerful treatment can be taught to a new generation of clients and therapists. While they originally focused on individuals, existential concepts can be applied to families and systems. Jim Lantz, a professor at The Ohio State University prior to his death, has written about and conducted research on the direct application of the principles of existential psychotherapy working with families. While working with systems and having a contextual understanding of behavior and thoughts is crucial, it must not be forgotten that systems are comprised of parts; of individuals. If we fail to acknowledge the individuals within the system and the reciprocal nature of systems and individuals, we have done people a general disservice.
       I propose we should begin looking at the growth of ourselves, as therapists, educators, individuals, and professionals, and allow our growth to be the critical indicator of success. Luckily, as we enter into therapeutic relationship with others, we will necessarily be affected. This means the only real challenge, is identifying what prevents us from entering into relationship with others.