EHI Certificate in the Foundations of Existential-Humanistic Practice

EHI Program Director of Clinical Training and Education and Faculty, Saybrook University: Orah T. Krug, PhD
Co-author of Existential-Humanistic Therapy and Supervision Essentials for Existential-Humanistic Therapy.

EHI Clinical Director: Troy Piwowarski, PsyD
Co-author of a chapter in Handbook of Humanistic Psychology.

The Existential-Humanistic Institute is pleased to continue to offer this unprecedented certificate program leading to a Certificate in the Foundations of Existential-Humanistic Practice.


Leading therapy researcher Bruce Wampold suggests 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" (Wampold cited in PsycCritiques, February 6, 2008, p.6).

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Wampold’s findings along with others place E-H therapy not on the fringe but squarely at the center of psychological theory and practice as the field formulates new assumptions about what constitutes the core of practice. The intention of the certificate program coursework is to provide students with such a foundational core by integrating both theory and practice into each course.

The theoretical part focuses on existential-humanistic therapy in general and on three of its founders, Rollo May, James Bugental, and Irvin Yalom, in particular. An overarching assumption of existential-humanistic therapy is that it is the client’s in the moment experiencing that forms both the underlying and actual process in therapy. This assumption anchors the existential therapist in the principles of practice that focus on experience over explanation and process over content.

Thus the skill-development part focuses on learning to: (a) identify meaning-making processes unfolding in the present moment, (b) illuminate these “actual but often unrecognized” processes by cultivating intrapsychic and interpersonal presence, (c) develop a safe and intimate therapeutic relationship, (d) recognize and work with existential life issues which may be present but disguised, and (e) recognize and work with transference and counter transference issues within an existential framework.

"The program showed me a doorway within myself into territory that I was aware of but had yet to fully conceptualize."
~ Jenelle

By gaining competency in these fundamental principles, the student will have a solid core of practice and have a foundation from which additional modalities such as a cognitive-behavioral approach can be employed. The program is intended as a mentoring experience that emphasizes the development of the trainee as a whole person, appreciating that psychotherapy is an art as much as a science.

Program Description and Certificate Requirements

Approximate Length: One Year, Forty Three Hours of Experiential Training & Consultation
Three Courses, a Practicum, an Experiential Evaluation and a Year of Personal Therapy

  1. The Theory and Practice of Existential-Humanistic Therapy
  2. This online survey course offers an overview of E-H Therapy, its theory and practice as understood by prominent practitioners like Rollo May, James Bugental and Irvin Yalom.

  3. Existential-Humanistic Therapy: New Combined Experiential I & II
  4. This six-day/five-night course will offer 33 hours of skill development training (with a total of 45 hours of programming) in the Spring of 2018.

    Schneider and Krug’s APA textbook, Existential-Humanistic Therapy, will be a core resource. Additional readings of Rollo May, James Bugental and Irvin Yalom will be included.

    For the course description with objectives please visit the Course Description page.

  5. A Practicum and An Experiential Evaluation
  6. Forty-hours of experiential practice, designed by the student, and 10 hours of skill development consultation with EHI faculty is also required plus a culminating experiential competency review by EHI faculty.

  7. A year of personal therapy is strongly recommended, taken either before or during the yearlong program.

The Experiential Residential Retreat - The Core of EHI Programs

The mandatory 6-day, 5-night experiential residential is the core of EHI's training. It allows licensed professionals and graduate students in psychology or counseling to come together in a safe environment, get to know one another intimately, and experience how E-H therapy is practiced up close and personally.

EHI Faculty, all noted leaders in the field, emphasize the key ingredients of the E-H approach, including empathy, acceptance, and genuineness, to model how trainees can create safe, collaborative and life-changing therapeutic encounters. They demonstrate how the therapeutic relationship, in and of itself is a vehicle for healing and change and how therapeutic "presence" cultivates sensitivity and appropriate responsiveness to clients emotions, relational patterns and inner worlds.These two essential principles: building the therapeutic relationship and working in the "here and now" are the foundational blocks of E-H therapy and EHI training.

The residential involves a combination of relationship-building, learning of theoretical foundations, and first-hand experiences wherein theory comes to life. At times, this may involve faculty members demonstrating their way of working with clients and inviting commentary; at other times, participants work in dyads with each other, and receive direct feedback from a faculty member as they work.

Through these various ways of learning, participants begin to drop into a deeper, more embodied sense of what E-H therapy has to offer. The experiential training also provides participants a way of deeply understanding how work on themselves mirrors their ability to work with clients.

2017-2018 Experiential Training Dates

[Training Update: October 31, 2017] The 2017-2018 training schedule has been updated due to the wildfires in Sonoma. This year EHI has scheduled a single combined training in April for our programs. Students will receive the complete training in one intensive retreat. Forty-three training hours are scheduled in this experiential. This combined training allows us to reduced the amount of overlapping training that would occur when doing two training retreats, as a consequence of the reduced training hours the tuition for the training has been reduced. Please contact Michelle, EHI admin for more details: admin[at]

  • New Combined Experiential I & II: Sunday, April 8th, 2018 - April 13th, 2018

The Experiential starts at 9:00am on the first day and ends at 1:00pm on the final day.

When planning travel to Westerbeke Ranch please note that EHI does not provide transportation up to Westerbeke Ranch, though we do encourage carpooling and initiate it with an email to all attendees prior to the retreat.


The certificate program is open to licensed professionals who seek to enhance their clinical skills, and to full or half time students in a masters or doctoral psychology program. It is also open to persons who currently hold at least a masters degree in counseling or psychotherapy.

If you have questions about whether you might qualify please write us at info[@]

Program Fees and Registration

Cost of Program1:

  • Program Tuition Cost: $3,150*[Tuition fees reduced and updated for this year's new combined training]
  • Appx 53 hours of experiential training
  • Online survey course: Theory and Practice of E-H Therapy
  • 1 Free admission to EHI's biennial conference
  • Separate Experiential Food and Lodging Fees: $977 for April, for 6 days food and 5 nights lodging, billed separately.
  • We can offer no discount on this cost and due to contractual obligation this fee is both non-refundable and non-transferable.
  • We hold our experientials at a beautiful retreat center, Westerbeke Ranch, in the heart of Sonoma County. The cost includes modern, cabin-style shared lodging, superb family style meals and the use of all the facilities at Westerbeke such as the pool, hot tub and walking trails.

Westerbeke Ranch as a retreat center has historic significance for our community, as it was the meeting place for many of the seminal writers in E-H theory and practice such as Rollo May and James Bugental.

*Please note: Coursework and tuition/fees may be subject to change without notice. Fees and tuition are non-refundable.

Tuition discount is available:

5% early bird discount on program tuition costs, minus the $400 tuition deposit, for tuition paid within 30 days of acceptance into the program.

Registration process:

Once accepted by EHI you will be registered for the required courses as soon as we receive your non-refundable deposit of $400 and a completed payment agreement form. The program deposit is due upon acceptance into the program.


We hope the following information will guide you through the application process. If you have further questions or need additional assistance, please email us: admin[at]

How do I apply to the program?

  • 1. Get the Foundations Program Application Form [pdf]

    Download the Application Here!

  • 2. Fill out the application in Adobe Reader.
    Mac Users: Please use Adobe Reader (available for free) to fill out app Preview will not save your entries in the form.
  • 3. Email the application as an attachment our admin, Michelle: admin[@]
  • 4. Please Submit a Non-refundable Application Fee of $100:

What is the deadline for applying?

Applications will be accepted year-round. Apply as soon as possible to secure a position in the program.

What happens after I apply?

Once received, your application and paperwork will be reviewed by faculty members and responded to within a 2-week period. If accepted, a letter of acceptance will be sent to you.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to talking with you more about the program!

Orah T. Krug, PhD
EHI Program Director of Education and Training
Saybrook Faculty


Troy Piwowarski, PsyD
EHI Clinical Director

Roby Shamas, LMFT
EHI Clinical Training Coordinator