Saybrook-EHI Partnership

May 7, 2024 Programs Update: Enrollment for the 2024 training retreat has closed.

The Existential-Humanistic Institute and Saybrook University are pleased to offer an unprecedented partnership for Saybrook’s Existential Therapy program leading to a Saybrook Certificate in the Foundations of Existential-Humanistic Practice. This program has a foundational focus on Existential-Humanistic (E-H) therapy practice. EHI provides only the residential retreat course for this Saybrook certificate program. The rest of the didactic courses are taken through Saybrook.

Please Note: This is open to Saybrook University Clinical Psychology PhD students in good standing only. Saybrook students must register for the appropriate Saybrook courses before joining the EHI training residential. EHI starts to fills the spring residential retreat training the Fall prior. Please reach out to us for more info if you have questions.


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).

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 this certificate program is to provide students with such a foundational core that focuses on both theory and skill development.

The theoretical part focuses on existential-humanistic therapy in general and a study of two of its founders, Rollo May and James Bugental 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.

Saybrook Program Description and Certificate Requirements

Saybrook Program Coordinator:

Drake Spaeth, PsyD
Coordinator, Existential-Humanistic Psychology Specialization
Saybrook University

Approximate Length Through Saybrook: One to Two Years
Please contact Saybrook for the most recent description of their Certificate program that they offer.

    1. Three Academic Courses from Saybrook:
      (a) EHTP 2040 Existential Psychotherapies
      (b)EHTP 6150 Existential Psychotherapies II: Rollo May and the Existential Tradition
      (c)EHTP 2047 Existential Psychotherapies III: James Bugental and the Existential-Humanistic Tradition Academic courses are distance learning; instructors will be assigned after acceptance into the program.
    2. One Experiential Course*: This course is taken through EHI.
    3.  Completion of a 10-hr consultation group held by EHI.

*This is the heart of EHI’s program, a mandatory five-night residential training course that offers 30+ hours of skill development training (with 40 hours of programming) held in Sonoma each spring.

For the training course residential description please visit the Course Description page.


Saybrook student? Would you like to know more about the retreat? Contact us below and be a part of this dynamic program!

Experiential Training Course Details

The five-night experiential residential retreat is the core of EHI’s training. This residential allows participants who are graduate students in psychology/counseling and licensed professionals 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. The training 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.

Next Experiential Training Course
• May 30 – June 4, 2024


The certificate program is open to Saybrook students in good standing. Coursework may satisfy both certificate and concentration requirements, check with your department head to see if it does. Saybrook students without previous clinical training or involved in such a degree program could be eligible if they have a strong E-H background.

*A new or current Saybrook student needs to apply to and be accepted by EHI before the start of the program after consultation with Saybrook. Spaces are limited.

Program Fees & Costs to Attend Residential1

    1. Experiential Module*: $2,290 tuition
    2. Group Consultation Module: $425 tuition (includes five, 2-hour video group consultations, meeting once a month). 

Early Bird Discounts Available For Applicants Prior to 12/15/2023

  1. Full Tuition Payment Option: $250 Early Bird Discount
  2. Split Tuition Payment Option: $100 Early Bird Discount


2024 Lodging:  $1, 150. The only additional expenses are those for food and lodging at the Bay Area retreat center where the experiential trainings are held. We can offer no discount on this cost and due to our contractual obligation this fee is both non-refundable and non-transferable.

*Fees may be subject to change without notice between curriculum years.

View the upcoming retreat location details here.


How do I apply to the program?

  • 1. Get the EHI-Saybrook Foundations Program Application Form [pdf] No Application Fee is levied for Saybrook students.
    Download the Application Here!
  • 2. EMAIL application per instructions in the application.


Registration for the didactic courses in Saybrook’s certificate program is through Saybrook University Registrar’s Office. Please contact Drake Speath at Saybrook to take this Certificate.

EHI is the partner that provides the Experiential Training Course for this program.

Payment of the Retreat Tuition and Lodging fees are submitted to EHI. EHI’s program admin, Michelle, will work with you regarding an enrollment agreement and invoicing for the Retreat Tuition and Lodging Fees.


Please reach out to Saybrook Admissions with questions about their Certificate program.  Saybrook suggested  set up a meeting with a faculty member, please reach out to your Admissions Counselor, or contact Admissions at: or 800.825.4480.
Saybrook Program Coordinator:
Drake Spaeth, PsyD
Coordinator, Existential-Humanistic Psychology Specialization, Saybrook University.
Please reach out through Saybrook for his contact info.

If you have any questions or need further assistance regarding EHI’s portion of this program, the Experiential Training Retreat , please feel free to contact us. We look forward to talking with you more about the residential.

Nader Shabahangi, PhD, MFT
Co Director of Clinical Training, Core Instructor

Nance Reynolds, PhD, LCSW
Co Director of Clinical Training, Core Instructor 

Stephanie Weissman, PsyD
Clinical Training Coordinator, Instructor