Advanced Certificate Program Awarding Certification as an Existential-Humanistic Therapist

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

The Existential-Humanistic Institute is pleased to announce a new and 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.

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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 Learning Objectives

The goals of the advanced program are to deepen and expand on the foundational learning begun in the “Foundations Certificate Program.” The theoretical, on-line 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 [2 years]**

  1. Complete 2 six-day experiential courses taken sequentially. Complete required papers (one paper required per course.) The Foundations experiential course counts as the 1st course.
  2. Complete two on-line courses. Complete all required papers (one per course).
  3. Complete a minimum of 20 hours of group or individual consultation with an EHI faculty, in person, by phone or Skype.
  4. Present a case study, both verbally and in written form to EHI faculty for the final evaluation.

Flexibility in the Advanced Certificate Program

The Advanced program has an individualized schedule and curriculum. Students in the Advanced program can structure their educational program 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 Clincial Director each year on their proposed curriculum.

Sample of An Advanced Certificate Program Curriculum


  • Spring of First Year
    Experiential 2 and one online course: Advanced Online Course Part I
  • Fall Consult Module: Video Consult Group or Optional Individual Consultation


  • Spring of Second Year
    Experiential 3 and one online course:Advanced Online Course Part I
  • Fall Consult Module: Video Consult Group or Optional Individual Consultation

The Experiential Intensive Residential Retreats - The Core of EHI Programs

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.

2020 Experiential Dates

2020 Experiential Retreat is Rescheduled: October 18-24, 2020

Due to participant safety and long-distance travel concerns the annual training retreat has been rescheduled to October.

The 2020 Experiential is Moving Online: Details of New Intensive to be Announced!

For the 2019 residential experiential training course description with objectives 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.

Program Fees1

Example Breakdown of Advanced program Fees Year 1*:
  1. Online courses: $650 per course**
  2. 2020 Experiential Module: 6-day Experiential Residential Retreat Course: $2150***
  3. Consultation Module A: Five Hours of Individual Consults (in person, phone or Skype): $500 or
  4. Consultation Module B: Five 2-Hour Group Consults (in person or Skype): $350

*Please note: coursework and tuition may be subject to change 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 our sponsorship status.)

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

Separate Experiential Food and Lodging Cost: appx $1085* for the single combined experiential in 2020.

Our experientials are held at a beautiful retreat center, Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma County, ½ hour north of San Francisco. This covered the 6 days of meals and 5 nights lodging, billed separately from tuition. We can offer no discount on this cost and due to contractual obligation this fee is both non-refundable and non-transferable.

  • The cost includes modern, cabin-style lodging, superb family-style meals and the use of all the facilities at Westerbeke such as the pool, hot tub and walking trails.


2020 - Experiential Training Cohort is Full

The 2020 training retreat residential cohort is full but we ask that if you are interested please reach out to us!

Each year there is the possibility an attendee will defer participation in the year's training, opening space for another to attend the residential. We have a waitlist and will contact each person on the waitlist in the order they went onto the list if an opening occurs. The person who is able to enroll will get the space. Contact the admin assistant, Michelle, for details and info about space in the program and current waitlist, program[at]

Interested in joining us for 2021? Applications are being accepted now.

New Updated Programming Format: Combined Experiential Training I & II
• May 16th, 2021 - May 21, 2021

Application to Program

Please email Troy, our Clinical Director about joining the Advanced Certificate Program: program[at]


Contact Troy Today!

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!

Troy Piwowarski, PsyD
EHI Clinical Director

Roby Shamas, LMFT
EHI Clinical Training Coordinator