Introduction to Existential Therapy

Friday 5th July 2019

About the workshop

This workshop will provide a broad overview of existential theory through examination and exploration of the various themes found in existential philosophy.  The workshop will also show how these philosophical ideas have been translated into practice and used as an approach to therapy.  Throughout the day, students will be given the opportunity to engage with theory in a practical way and begin to learn some of the basics of key counselling skills.

Course Outline

Morning Session (10AM-1PM)

  • Theory: Introduction to the course and an overview of the historical context and background of Existentialism. Specific existential themes such as authenticity, freedom, death, choice, responsibility, suffering, meaning and anxiety will be explored.  Major philosophers such as Heidegger and Sartre and practitioners such as Yalom and Deuzen will be introduced.
  • Practical Session: Practical exercise and discussion.

Afternoon Session (2PM- 4:30PM)

  • Theory: Introduction to the basic method of applied existential phenomenology in terms of being with, listening and making sense of client material. The four-dimensional model will be considered in relation to a selection of client issues
  • Practical Session: Practical work in pairs, using phenomenology and listening for existential themes as well as consideration of issues on the four dimensions of existence.

The day will end with a discussion and concluding remarks.



Dr Claire Arnold-Baker is an existential therapist, psychologist and supervisor. She is Programme Leader for the DCPsych programme at the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling. Claire co-edited Existential Perspectives on Human Issues with Emmy van Deurzen.

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