About EHI

Welcome to the Existential-Humanistic Institute (EHI). The institute’s primary focus is training; offering courses in the practice of existential-humanistic therapy, existential therapy, existential integrative therapy and theory and related workshops. In 1997 EHI was formed as a program under the auspices of the Pacific Institute, a non-profit organization in San Francisco and in 2020 continues to offer educational programs and training, workshops and consultation groups and community gatherings in the Bay Area as a California Benefit Corp.

EHI's Board & Instruction Team

zoom screenshot photo of EHI's Board in 2023. From left to right. Top Row: Kirk Schneider, Nader Shabahangi & Bonnie Rose; Middle Row: Doug Silberstein, Nance Reynolds, Scott Gibbs; Bottom Row: Sonja Saltman and Stephanie Weissman
The EHI team meeting in 2023.


Pictured here from left to right:

1st Row: Kirk Schneider, Nader Shabahangi & Bonnie Rose

2nd Row: Doug Silberstein, Nance Reynolds, Scott Gibbs

3rd Row: Sonja Saltman and Stephanie Weissman

Education and Training

As a teaching institute, EHI is home to a group of therapists passionate about the existential-humanistic perspective and how its actual practice supports people to become more of who they deeply are. In becoming who they are, people experience more aliveness and joy while accepting pain and suffering as equally valuable.

Rollo May

This institute was formed in response to our founders and present faculty’s experience of their hands-on teaching. Existential-Humanistic teachers such as Jim Bugental, Rollo May, and Irvin Yalom passionately gave the gift of teaching the art of psychotherapy. As the years moved on, it became clear that the training needed to be handed to the next generation of therapists. EH therapy must be shown and experienced as it is an experiential art. Jim Bugental especially implored his senior students to form a teaching institute so that the legacy of EH therapy could continue.

The vitality of the teaching and our learning led to an awareness of the need for hands-on teaching of EH practice, which, in turn, led to the formation of EHI. It represents a labor of love by all faculty as each teacher largely donates time, energy, and money. The Institute tries to recuperate basic operating costs with its fees, with continual assessment toward keeping a balance in our offerings. We recognize the need to maintain a certain level of affordability without compromising or diminishing the quality of the teaching program. Many have inquired why we have six to eight faculty at each retreat and even online training, this underlying philosophy speaks to this choice in teacher-student ratio.

Hence, EHI began as a dream, and over time, it has become a vital organization for which we are all grateful.

EHI offers courses on the principles of existential-humanistic practice and case seminars in existential-humanistic (E-H) theory and practice. Most of EHI’s instructors have trained extensively with such masters as James Bugental, Irvin Yalom and Rollo May, and are among the most highly trained existential-humanistic practitioners in the country.

Themes covered in EHI training include: existential-humanistic philosophy and practice, the inner search process, subjectivity and encounter, the responsibility of the therapist. These courses explain existential-humanistic conceptions of resistance, meaning and alignment, existential spirituality, and integrative existential practice.

EHI provides a forum, a “home”, for those mental health professionals, scholars, and students who seek in-depth training in existential-humanistic philosophy, practice, and inquiry. EHI is for trainees who believe that in optimal psychotherapy, as Rollo May said, it is not this or that symptom, but “the life of the client” that is “at stake” – and that it is precisely this life that must be supported, accompanied, and encountered.

The goal of the institute – via both its curriculum, events, and newsletters – is to support existentially and humanistically informed psychologies and psychotherapies throughout the world. By “existentially informed” we mean perspectives that stress freedom, experiential reflection, and responsibility. By “humanistically informed” we mean purviews that address two overarching questions – What does it mean to be fully, experientially human, and how does that understanding illuminate the vital or fulfilled life?

The EHI Training in Existential-Humanistic Therapy Practice

EHI offers four experientially-focused training and certificate programs for licensed clinicians and graduate students in psychology, counseling, and social work programs to learn how existential therapy is practiced in clinical work.

Gain a Foundation in Existential-Humanistic Therapy Practice!

An Award Winning Organization

SHP Charlotte and Karl Bühler Award Recipients

Dr. Nader Shabahangi and the Existential-Humanistic Institute were honored to be the 2016 recipients of the Charlotte and Karl Bühler Award. This award is given by The Society of Humanistic Psychology, Division 32 of the APA, to an institution, and an individual associated with an institution, that have made outstanding and lasting contributions to humanistic psychology.


EHI Team at APA Award Dinner in 2016. From top left: Troy Piwowarski, Suzan Bollich, Kirk Schneider; From bottom left: Orah Krug, Mary Madrigal, Sonja Saltman, and Nader Shabahangi