The INPM strives to promote the practice of existential positive psychology or second wave positive psychology. Existential psychotherapy is known for its dark themes, such as meaninglessness, alienation, despair, and fear of death (Yalom, 1980). Therefore, the idea of positive existential therapy sounds oxymoronic. However, once we free ourselves from the tradition of Continental Existential Philosophy and focus on the meaning-centered approach, we begin to see existential therapy is a more positive light.
Meaning-based positive existential psychotherapy has many characteristics, which include:
- Realizing people are meaning-seeking, and meaning making creatures, living in a world of personal and cultural meanings;
- recognizing that people have the predisposition to strive for personal significance, growth, and happiness given the reality of the impermanence of life;
- balancing self-actualization with the need for community and spiritual union;
- viewing existential anxieties as the necessary preconditions for the development of virtues such as altruism, courage, creativity, resilience, love, and optimism;
- advocating an integrative approach towards various schools of existential and meaning-oriented psychotherapies;
- fostering the integration of scientific psychology and spirituality in the practice of counseling and psychology;
- stressing the discovery of meaning and purpose of both specific situations and life as a whole.