Death and Existence

Description: …While it may seem morbid, facing the reality of your own death has the power to activate a shift in life perspective. It can motivate efforts that involve taking responsibility and choosing to live well while you’re alive. Being aware of death can help spark full engagement in life, building meaning and purpose with the moments we do have. This awareness can shift the main question in life of “why” we live (existential crisis), to a process of engaging “how” we live (choice and responsibility).


1. Understanding the Impact of Mortality Awareness: Participants will explore how confronting the reality of death can shift life perspectives and motivate individuals to live more fully and responsibly.

2. Integrating Existential Themes in Therapy: Attendees will learn to incorporate existential themes, such as meaning, purpose, and responsibility, into their therapeutic practice to help clients engage more deeply with their lives.

3. Facilitating Life Engagement: Clinicians will develop skills to help clients transition from existential crises centered around “why” they live to a more active engagement with “how” they live, emphasizing choice and responsibility.

Competencies Acquired:

1. Existential Awareness and Therapy: Proficiency in using awareness of mortality as a therapeutic tool to enhance clients’ engagement with life and foster a sense of meaning and purpose.

2. Incorporation of Existential Themes: Ability to effectively integrate existential themes into therapy, helping clients navigate existential crises and focus on living well.

3. Facilitation of Life Choices and Responsibility: Enhanced skills in guiding clients to make conscious life choices and take responsibility for living meaningfully and purposefully.

Bibliographic Titles

1. Yalom, I. D. (2008). *Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death*. Jossey-Bass.

2. Frankl, V. E. (2006). *Man’s Search for Meaning*. Beacon Press.

3. May, R. (1983). *The Discovery of Being: Writings in Existential Psychology*. W. W. Norton & Company.

4. Kastenbaum, R. (2012). *Death, Society, and Human Experience* (11th ed.). Routledge.

5. Becker, E. (1973). *The Denial of Death*. Free Press.

Robyn Walser

Members of the Romanian chapter have a special relationship with Robyn Walser. At the ACBS World Conference in Cyprus (2023), most members followed Robyn like ducklings, attending many of her workshops.

Dr. Robyn Walser is a psychologist at the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD, USA), Division of Dissemination and Training and a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley.

She is an expert in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and has written 7 books and many scholarly articles. Since 1998, when she completed her PhD under the supervision of Steven C. Hayes, Robyn has delivered ACT courses both nationally and internationally. Dr. Walser is involved in several research projects investigating moral injury, suicidal behavior, and the use of mindfulness in veteran populations.

If you’d like to see her do therapy, we recommend the following demonstration: