(Herron 2004, p. 54) According to Heidegger and Sartre, two of the foremost and ardent proponent of Existentialism, “existence” does not have any fixed definition. (Earnshaw 2007, pp. 2)
No single philosopher or theorists could claim credit for introducing existentialism. This is because the roots of the philosophical thought are diverse. According to Rita Sommers-Flanagan (2004), most text points to nineteenth-century philosophers Soren Kiergaard and Frederick Nietzsche as the major players in the formulation of existentialism. (pp. 139) Nonetheless, there are other philosophers who have contributed to the philosophical thought, particularly Pascal, Sartre, Heidegger, Husserl, among others. This dynamic element of the theory made “Existentialism” a flexible and wider concept. (Earnshaw 2007 pp. 1-3 )
Most historians credit Rollo May as the one who formally introduced and integrated existential thought into counseling and psychotherapy. (Sommers-Flanagan, pp. 139) The main claim of existential counseling to the basic philosophy of Existentialism lies behind the idea that an individual is considered to be the author of his or her own life. This demonstrates how existentialism could parallel Christian thought. For example, existentialism can become for Christians a way for determining truth through commitment. According to Claerbaut (2004), if at conversion, and therefore at the time of commitment, “one becomes a new person in Christ – seeing truth with spiritually opened eyes – then indeed the Christian life affirms an existentialist experience. (pp. 202)
Existential Therapy is different from other practiced psychotherapy in that it does not follow any specific framework and techniques unlike others. It rejects the idea of human nature being restricted by various theories and propagates the idea of freedom in human nature.