Saybrook introduces certificate program in Existential-Humanistic therapy

Saybrook University was founded on the premise that the human element is crucial to human 6a0105369e3ea1970b0133f5e1fb22970b 320wi - Saybrook introduces certificate program in Existential-Humanistic therapy interactions … like therapy.  The therapeutic encounter is at its best when the therapist and patient have a strong and vital connection, and weakest when it reduces the patient’s humanity to a check-list of symptoms. 

Mainstream therapy may finally be catching up.  In a review for the APA of Saybrook alumnus and faculty member Kirk Schneider’s recent book Existential-Integrative Therapy, leading researcher Bruce Wampold noted that:  

“an understanding of the principles of existential therapy is needed by all therapists, as it adds a perspective that might …form the basis for all effective treatments” (PsycCritiques, February 6, 2008, p.6).

Wampold’s findings along with others place E-H therapy squarely at the center of psychological theory and practice. Now Saybrook, long the leader in humanistic graduate programs, is partnering with the Existential Humanistic Institute, EHI, to offer a new and unprecedented certificate program in existential-humanistic therapy. 

The intention of this certificate program is to provide students with such a foundational core of practice, with a clear grounding in E-H theory.

The theoretical portion includes an exploration of existential and humanistic psychology and an in depth study of two of its founders, Rollo May and James Bugental. The experiential part focuses on teaching the principles of E-H therapy:

  • (a) working in the present moment with intrapsychic and interpersonal processes,
  • (b) cultivating personal and interpersonal presence,
  • (c) deepening the therapeutic relationship,
  • (d) working with existential life issues, and
  • (e) developing the personal attributes of the student-therapist.

“We believe that by gaining competency in these fundamental principles, the student will not only have a solid and effective core of practice for effective treatment but also have a foundation from which additional treatment modalities such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or EMDR can be employed,” says program director Orah Krug. “The curriculum is intended to be a mentoring experience that emphasizes the development of the therapist as a whole person, appreciating that psychotherapy is an art as much as a science.”

 A completion of the aforementioned training and coursework will meet EHI’s basic skill and competency standards in E-H therapy. After completion, the student will receive a Certificate in Existential-Humanistic Therapy.


Each student completes 16 units of credit, which includes four three-unit courses, a three-unit practicum and a one-unit final integrative paper and review of competencies.

1. Four Required Courses

  • (a) HTP 3500 Humanistic Psychology and Psychotherapy
    – or –
    HTP 3505 Foundations of Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology
  • (b) HTP 2040 Existential Psychotherapies
  • (c) HTP 6150 Rollo May and the Existential Tradition
  • (d) IR 8100 James Bugental and the Cultivation of Presence

One-third of each course includes ten hours of experiential training and consultation from the nationally recognized EHI faculty, for a total of forty hours of training. Schneider and Krug’s recently published textbook from APA, Existential-Humanistic Therapy, will be a core resource for the experiential training piece.

2. Practicum
A forty-hour practicum for 3 credits will be designed by the student to further their experiential learning of E-H therapy. Case consultation from EHI faculty will be provided.

3. Final Paper
A final integrative paper and experiential review of the student’s competencies by EHI faculty will be one unit and will complete the requirements for a certificate.

EHI’s varied learning opportunities make it possible for our Bay area students and our distance-learning students to personalize the way in which they obtain their “hands-on” training.


The certificate program is open to full or half time students at Saybrook or at other graduate psychology schools, or to licensed professionals who seek to enhance their clinical skills. It is also open to non-matriculating students who currently hold at least a masters degree in counseling or psychotherapy. CE credits will be awarded accordingly.

Saybrook students would not incur any additional costs to participate in our certificate program.

Non-Saybrook students will take the coursework as independent study.

Additional information regarding program eligibility, tuition costs, etc is available from Orah Krug, PhD ([email protected]), Training Director of EHI and faculty member, Saybrook University.  To learn more, visit Saybrook’s website. 


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