Existential Crises

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Feeling uncertain about the course of your life is normal, and even rational to a certain extent.

For example, we’ve all wondered at times whether we’re making the right choices about our careers and partners. Sometimes this sense of uncertainty helps us make better decisions.

However, when these difficulties feel especially urgent or persistent, they can become overwhelming – and manifest themselves as an existential crisis.

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Different types of existential crises

Existential crises come in many forms. A few common scenarios might be:

Entering a new life phase: People in the following life stages are all examples of individuals who might find themselves questioning who they are, and what they are doing with their lives:

Experiencing a change in relationships or family roles: Significant relational changes, such as the following, might lead to an existential crisis:

Symptoms of an existential crisis

Symptoms associated with existential crises vary, but some common examples are as follows:

What to do if you’re experiencing an existential crisis

If you’re experiencing the kinds of challenges described here, consider the following options:

What to look for in a therapist for existential crises

Look for a therapist who has a specialty in working with clients in similar situations

Therapists differ in their approaches to treating existential crises. Common approaches include:

Helpful questions to ask

These questions may prove helpful when interviewing potential therapists:

Prioritize personal fit

While personality fit is a nuanced factor, it is critical to your success in therapy. Multiple studies have revealed the importance of this factor, often referred to as “therapeutic alliance.”

On your initial phone call with the therapist, ask yourself:

Additionally, consider these factors:

Consider cost, location, and scheduling

Therapy will only work if it works for you. Before making an appointment, ask yourself honestly:

Find therapists specializing in existential challenges near you

Find therapists who specialize in existential challenges on Zencare, below. Search by insurance, fees, and location; watch therapist introductory videos; and book free initial calls to find the right therapist for you.

New to therapy? Learn about how to find a therapist here.