Dr. Youdin practices existential-humanistic therapy. This theory focuses on one's life experience coupled with one or more themes, be it a struggle with happiness vs. unhappiness, interpersonal relationships, life vs. death, sexual expression vs. asexuality, or any other life dilemma. This type of therapy focuses on a person's issues and conflicts that are derived from interpersonal experiences in his or her environment, the interpretation a person makes of these experiences, and a person's ability to foresee a future. Dr. Youdin envisions a person's ability to shape his or her life as a balancing between one's choices and intentions with one's heredity and environment.
Dr. Youdin views the people he works with from a strengths perspective. Rather than seeing a person as pathological or sick, he views symptoms as a sign of weakened resiliency to the psychosocial forces of one's life experiences. When these forces overwhelm a person's resiliency, he or she loses a purpose to move forward with his or her life. Without a purpose, a situation of being stuck occurs which creates an existential vacuum. Finding oneself in an existential vacuum, a person will use a purpose substitute in lieu of purpose, or positive forward movement with his or her life. An existential vacuum is considered to be a symptom of the failure of resilience to bio-psycho-social stressors affecting a person rather than psychopathology emanating from a disease process within the brain. There are five types of purpose substitutions: addictive, social, morally good, social status seeking, and unfulfilling engagement.
The addictive type will show a person substituting repetitive compulsive activities such as substance abuse, pathological gambling, eating disorder behaviors, excessive spending, etc. The social type finds a person making superficial relationships, producing drama as an attention getting device, or joining an organization for social acceptance without necessarily being interested in the organization. The morally good type will show a person demonstrating altruistic behaviors by advocating for causes in an inauthentic manner. The social status seeking type will show a person externalizing him or herself with symbols of money such as material goods or organizational positions (jobs, community organizations, political offices, country club memberships, etc.) that lend prestige and power. The unfulfilling engagement type will show a person substituting a purpose through excessive activities such as long working hours, devotion to excessive television viewing, compulsive internet use, overly rigid schedules, or other unfulfilling non-interpersonal activities. A person employing purpose substitutions creates an existential permanency, or lack of purpose. The goal of existential psychotherapy is to eliminate these substitutions and replace them with positive coping skills based on a person’s strengths, which will lead to an enhanced resilience to bio-psycho-social stressors and a sense of empowerment.
Humanistic psychotherapy is a process of a person trying to improve his or her life as an authentic self through the experience of the therapeutic relationship. Dr. Youdin helps people through individual, family, or group psychotherapy.
Dr. Youdin provides training workshops to mental health agencies and clinics throughout the United States and Europe.
Dr. Youdin is an independent scholar at the Princeton Research Forum. He is the author of Clinical Gerontological Social Work Practice, and co-author with Dr. Tina Maschi of Social Worker as Researcher: Integrating Research with Advocacy. He is currently writing Psychology of Aging 101 for Springer Publishing Company. For twenty years, Dr. Robert Youdin was an adjunct associate professor at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service in New York City. In 2007-2008, he was a Project Director for a Gero Innovations Grant for the Master's Advanced Curriculum Project funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation and Council on Social Work Education. In 2005-2007 Dr. Youdin was a participant in the Curriculum Development Institute (Gero-Ed) sponsored by John A. Hartford Foundation and Council on Social Work Education. He is a past assistant research scientist of the Biometrics Unit of the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City. In 1977, he was elected as member of Sigma Xi -- the Scientific Research Society of North America. Dr. Youdin has been a private practitioner for the past 31 years practicing in Princeton, New Jersey. He has an existential humanistic orientation and is trained in Eriksonian hypnosis. In addition, he has appeared on numerous public service radio programs discussing substance abuse problems.
© 2014 Robert Youdin, Ph.D., LCSW, LLC