English: Existential Crisis / Deutsch: Existenzkrise / Español: Crisis existencial / Português: Crise existencial / Français: Crise existentielle / Italiano: Crisi esistenziale

In the psychology context, an Existential Crisis refers to a period of intense questioning and uncertainty about one’s purpose, meaning, or value in life. It is characterized by deep contemplation about existential themes such as mortality, freedom, responsibility, isolation, and meaninglessness. Individuals experiencing an existential crisis may question their place in the world, their choices, and the authenticity of their existence, often leading to feelings of disorientation, anxiety, or despair.

General Description

An existential crisis can be triggered by significant life events, such as the loss of a loved one, a major career change, or a personal milestone that prompts reflection on life’s purpose and direction. It involves a profound questioning of one’s fundamental beliefs and values, and can lead to a transformative process, where individuals seek to find personal meaning and align their lives with their authentic selves.

Application Areas

  • Therapeutic Intervention: Psychotherapy, particularly existential therapy, can help individuals navigate their existential concerns, offering a space to explore life’s meanings and values.
  • Self-Exploration: Engaging in self-reflection, journaling, or creative pursuits to explore personal values and meaning.
  • Philosophical Inquiry: Studying existential philosophy or engaging in philosophical discussions as a way to address existential questions.

Risks and Challenges

An Existential Crisis can significantly impact mental health, potentially leading to anxiety, depression, or feelings of alienation if not adequately addressed. The challenge lies in confronting existential fears and uncertainties without becoming overwhelmed. It requires a delicate balance between seeking answers and accepting the inherent ambiguities of existence.


An Existential Crisis in psychology is a profound period of questioning and search for meaning that can lead to existential distress but also offers an opportunity for personal growth and self-realization. By addressing these existential questions, individuals can emerge with a stronger sense of purpose and a deeper understanding of their place in the world.


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