Advanced Certificate Program
Awarding Certification as an Existential-Humanistic Therapist

The Existential-Humanistic Institute is pleased to continue to offer our unprecedented Advanced Certificate in Existential-Humanistic Therapy Awarding Certification as an Existential-Humanistic Therapist. This program is open to students who have completed the certificate program in “Foundations of Existential-Humanistic Practice”.


The intention of this Advanced certificate program is to build on the educational foundation laid in the “Foundations” certificate program. This Advanced certificate program is envisioned as a two or three year program, awarding the candidate certification as an Existential-Humanistic Therapist.

By adding this advanced level to the introductory Foundations program, EHI now offers students interested in specializing in Existential Humanistic Therapy a comprehensive and intensive three or four year educational program, unlike anything that presently exists in the United States. It is akin to the training programs in London headed by Emmy van Deurzen and Ernesto Spinelli respectively.

To be awarded the advanced certificate, candidates need: (a) to possess the Foundations certificate, (b) to complete the advanced program requirements, and (c) to receive EHI faculty approval. For faculty approval the candidate must demonstrate above average proficiency as an Existential-Humanistic (E-H) therapist.

“I gained a deeper understanding of my own context and how that has directed and influenced so much of my existence. I have always had an understanding certainly that what is experienced in the early, formative years is paramount in shaping our belief systems and personality, but somehow I have never before been able to feel this in such a palpable way.”
~ Ada

Goals and Objectives

The goals of the advanced program are to deepen and expand on the foundational learning begun in the “Foundations Certificate Program.” The theoretical, online courses will expose students to key existential philosophers, and theorists and also allow them to explore subjects of particular interest to them related to E-H therapy through independent study courses. Existential philosophical and literary themes, along selected independent study themes, will be weaved into the fabric of the experiential coursework. Additionally, the experiential coursework will include the following learning objectives:

  1. Learn to work with challenging “client types.”
  2. Learn to work with challenging clinical issues e.g., aging, sexual abuse, addiction, etc.
  3. Deepen an understanding of how to use the therapeutic relationship and the therapeutic encounter as a “living laboratory.”
  4. Expand a focus on the person of the therapist by exploring the impact of one’s context on meaning making, relational strategies, attachment styles and protective patterns.
  5. Learn how to work with clients presenting with specific existential issues like freedom, separateness, death etc., which may be present but hidden from consciousness.
  6. Learn and practice ways to integrate different treatment interventions like cognitive-behavioral or trauma treatment with the principles of E-H Therapy.

Advanced Certificate Program Requirements

  • Complete the requirements for a Certificate in the Foundations of Existential-Humanistic Therapy (one 6-day Experiential Training Retreat, one 10-hour Consultation Group and the Foundations Theory Course)
  • Complete Two 6-day Experientia Training Retreats
  • Complete the Advanced Theory Course (2 assignments)
  • Complete a minimum of 20 hours of group or individual consultation (or combination) with an EHI faculty, in person, by phone or Zoom.
  • Present a case study, both verbally and in written form to EHI faculty for the final evaluation.

Flexibility of 2 to 3 Year Completion Time

The Advanced program has an individualized schedule and curriculum. Students in the Advanced program can structure the timing of their involvement to suit their needs. Students take the program modules at their own pace., for example. ** This arrangement allows participants’ to budget their costs and time commitments. Students work with the Clinical Director each year on their annual curriculum goals.

Sample Advanced Certificate Program Curriculum (2 to 3 years)

Advanced Certificate Requirements: Year 1-2

  • Experiential 2 (Foundations experiential is the 1st) and Advanced Online Course Module: Part I
  • Consult Module(10 hours): Video Consult Group or Optional Individual Consultation

Advanced Certificate Requirements: Year 2-3

  • Experiential 3 and Advanced Online Course Module II: Part II
  • Consult Module (10 hours): Video Consult Group or Optional Individual Consultation

The Experiential Training Course

The mandatory 6-day, 5-night experiential residential is the core of EHI’s training each year. They allow 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 experiential residential 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.

2023 Experiential Training Course Dates

2023 Residential Training at Westerbeke Ranch: May 23-May 28, 2023

The Experiential starts at 4:00 pm on the first day and ends at 2:00pm on the final day.

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

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.

Sample Tuition Fees for A Year

Breakdown of Advanced Program fees* for 2022:

  1. Online Theory Course Module (Part I & Part 1-one each year): $650**
  2. Experiential Training Course Module: $2,250 in 2023***
  3. Consultation Module A: Five 2-Hour Group Consults; $425 when enrolling – or-
  4. Consultation Module B: 10 hours Individual Consults (in-person, phone or Skype): Fee varies.

*Please note: coursework and tuition may be subject to change between years when necessary. Text books, Travel/Lodging costs, and Continuing Education fees (when available) are not included in tuition costs.
**Comparable Saybrook online course cost for non-matriculated students is about $1500 per course, for matriculated students: $0.
***No equivalent experiential course is currently offered at Saybrook (may receive approximately 33 hours of CE credits for qualifying licenses -please check with us regarding Continuing Education.)

Substituting a Saybrook or other accredited school’s course for an EHI course must first be approved by the presiding Clinical Codirectors.

Separate Experiential Food and Lodging 

Our annual 6-day experiential trainings are held at a beautiful retreat center, Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma County, 45 minutes north of San Francisco. This covers the 6 days of meals, meeting rooms and 5 nights lodging. This is billed separately from tuition. Due to contractual obligation this fee is both non-refundable and non-transferable.

  • 2023 Cost: $1,125.00 This includes cabin-style shared lodging, superb family-style meals and the use of all the facilities at Westerbeke such as the pool and hot tub. 

Application to Program

This program is available to those who have completed EHI’s Foundations Certificate program. Foundations Certificate Holders: Please email either Nader, Nance, or Michelle about joining EHI’s Advanced Certificate program.

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 programs

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, Affiliate Instructor