EHI logo with Existential-Humanistic Institute text

Next In-Person Training Retreat: May 30th -June 4th, 2024!

2024 Training Dates Announced!

The 2023 Training Retreat Course was Approved for 30.75 CEs

Track 1. The Certificate Program

EHI Certificate in the Foundations
of Existential-Humanistic Practice

EHI Codirectors of Clinical Training: Nader Shabahangi, PhD, MFT & Nance Reynolds, PhD, LCSW

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

Why Do Therapists Attend This Training Retreat?

“The retreat is an opportunity to be part of a community where we can think together using the themes of E-H. We can apply theories to cases, watch the work of our mentors and each other. By living together we experience an intimacy that creates an environment that reduces barriers and the ensuing connections foster a greater capacity for learning."


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 the certificate program coursework is to provide students with such a foundational core by integrating both theory and practice into each course.

Program Description

The theoretical portion of the program 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.

The skill-development portion 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

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.

"I was inspired to attend the retreat after reading an article in the Atlantic about Existential Therapy. I realised it was a branch of therapy that expertly cultivates awareness, presence and connection. These are the mainstays of effective coaching and the areas of my life I wanted to improve the most. I was not disappointed I came away from training with a renewed sense of the value and healing power of deep human connection.

Certificate Requirements

Average Length of Time to Complete : One Year w/ Appx Fifty Hours of Experiential Training & Consultation Groups in Combination with Two 15-page Papers on E-H Therapy

The Foundations Program Has Three Modules (click each for details)

This is the annual experiential training historically held as a residential retreat at Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma, CA. In-person participation in an experiential retreat is a requirement of this Certificate program. There is an experiential evaluation on the final day of the training. This module is the only module with in-person requirements all other portions are completed remotely. 

*2023 Continuing Education: 30.75 CEs were approved. CE Fee: $100. For more information about the course or to discuss disability arrangements please contact Michelle through the form below.

The Existential-Humanistic Institute (EHI) collaborates with the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32 of the American Psychological Association) to provide APA Continuing Education credit at approved EHI events.

APA Division 32, Society for Humanistic Psychology is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. APA Division 32, Society for Humanistic Psychology maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

This is a self-directed  theory course with readings and 2 papers due to meet the requirement. Students will be paired with an instructor as facilitator after the experiential training. This is 100% remote.

This module is held remotely. The video consultation groups for the Foundations Certificate program meet for 1 two-hour session for 5 months via Zoom. 10-hours of consultation total. During the day, weekdays; Pacific time. Two EHI instructors will be group co-leaders. Participants should be seeing clients (in a therapeutic setting)to join a group.

*International & out-of-state program participants: Students are only required to attend in-person the Experiential Training, that is the only mandatory travel required for this program. The other requirements are completed by you remotely and are facilitated by EHI’s instructors.

Having the opportunity to attend the EHI experiential was such a gift!! Not only do I feel like I learned skills that have helped me in working more effectively with my clients- I feel it has changed me in the way I look at and appreciate more fully myself. Thanks again for the opportunity to be a part of EHI!!

Training Retreat at Westerbeke

photo of 2022 training cohort at Westerbeke Ranch

Experiential Training Course:
“Existential-Humanistic Therapy: Principles of Practice”

The 5-night training course, historically held as a residential retreat, is the heart of EHI’s programs. It allows licensed professionals and graduate students in psychology, counseling and therapy programs to come together in a safe environment, get to know one another, and experience how E-H therapy is practiced up close and personally. 

Kirk Schneider Introduces the Experiential Training Course

EHI instructors, 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.

2024 Experiential Training Course Module Dates

Dates: May 30 - June 4, 2024

The residential starts at 3:30pm on the first day and ends 2:00 pm(after lunch) on the final day. Approximately forty-five hours of programming are scheduled for this experiential. Expect days to be 8 am – 9 pm.

Westerbeke Ranch is a beautiful retreat center on acres of land in the heart of Sonoma. Built in the 30’s, the Ranch is a contemplative environment, nourishing to both body and soul. 

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

See this short video of Westerbeke Ranch from YouTube

poolside at Westerbeke Ranch the retreat center for EHI's Existential therapy training

Tabs with Info on Enrolling, Fees, Safety, Eligibility & Travel

*Continuing Education Info

The 2023 training was approved for 30.75 CEs. Information regarding 2024 Continuing Education availability will be updated here in Spring 2024. Please contact us through the form below for more info regarding the course or to request disability accommodations. 

APA Division 32, Society for Humanistic Psychology is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. APA Division 32, Society for Humanistic Psychology maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

*These continuing education credits are accepted by licensing boards across the US except in NY.


Contact Us

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

Clinical Training Codirectors

Nader Shabahangi, PhD, LMFT

Nance Reynolds, PhD, LCSW

Clinical Training Coordinator

Stephanie Weissman, PsyD

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