Existential–Humanistic Psychotherapy Supervision
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
The goal of existential–humanistic (or existential–integrative) supervision is to assist the supervisee to work flexibly and integratively with his or her client within the context of a deepening availability to an experiential encounter. The chief means by which this work is facilitated is via whole-bodied presence — or the holding and illuminating of that which is palpably significant between therapist and client and within the client.
In existential–humanistic therapeutic supervision, the supervisor must pay close attention to how the supervisee is present both within the supervisory session as well as with his or her clients, and to the supervisee's attunement to the client's desire and capacity for change, and how that desire and capacity is addressed. Experiential role plays and rehearsal are also drawn on to bring this aforementioned supervision format "alive."
In this video, Dr. Kirk J. Schneider and his supervisee engage in a supervisory session, and host Dr. Hanna Levenson interviews them about their work together, exploring the constructs of this model as they discuss highlights from the demonstration session.
The chief aim of existential–humanistic (EH) therapy is to set clients free within the natural and self-imposed (e.g., cultural) limits of living. The chief means by which this approach is facilitated is via whole-bodied presence — or the holding and illuminating of that which is palpably significant between therapist and client and within the client. Akin to a mirror, presence helps guide the EH therapist (in collaboration with the client) in the context of two overarching and often implicit questions: "How is the client presently living?" and "How is the client willing to live"? at every moment of the work.
The emphasis in EH therapeutic supervision therefore is on assisting the supervisee to work flexibly and integratively with his or her client, but ever within the context of a deepening availability to experiential encounter. Again, such a depth of encounter is not necessary in this approach but it is made available for the many clients for whom it is appropriate. Indeed, for these clients it is considered foundational for optimal healing (that is, for in depth, substantive "reconnection" with their denied experiences of being).
To facilitate EH supervision then, the supervisor pays close attention to how the supervisee is present both within the supervisory session as well as with his or her clients. The supervisor also attempts to be mindful of the supervisee's attunement to his/her client's desire and capacity for change, and how that desire and capacity is addressed.
The basic thrust of EH supervision is to help supervisees' cultivate fine-tuned experiential skills so that they can not only facilitate the need for in-depth, experiential levels of contact with their clients, but also starkly practical, programmatic, or advisory levels of contact. Supervisees working within this existential–humanistic/existential–integrative approach should gain a holistic sense of the therapeutic process, bolstered by evidence-based relational skills that emphasize presence, alliance, empathy, collaboration, context-informed authenticity, and hope.
Kirk Schneider, PhD, is a leading spokesperson for contemporary existential–humanistic psychology.
Dr. Schneider is the president-elect of APA Division 32 (Society for Humanistic Psychology), recent past editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology (2005–2012), cofounder and vice-president of the Existential–Humanistic Institute (EHI), and adjunct faculty at Saybrook University and Teachers College, Columbia University.
A fellow of APA, Dr. Schneider has published more than 100 articles and chapters and has authored or edited 10 books (several of which have been translated into Chinese, German, Portuguese, Greek, Russian, and Slovakian). These books include The Paradoxical Self, Horror and the Holy, The Psychology of Existence (with Rollo May), The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology (with James Bugental and Fraser Pierson — now being updated for a second edition), Rediscovery of Awe, Existential–Integrative Psychotherapy, Existential–Humanistic Therapy (with Orah Krug — accompanying APA videos also available), Humanity's Dark Side: Evil, Destructive Experience, and Psychotherapy (with Art Bohart, Barbara Held, and Ed Mendelowitz), Awakening to Awe, and most recently, The Polarized Mind.
Dr. Schneider is the recipient of the Rollo May Award from APA Div. 32 for "Outstanding and independent pursuit of new frontiers in humanistic psychology," the "Cultural Innovator" award from the Living Institute, Toronto, Canada, a psychotherapy training center that bases its diploma on Dr. Schneider's existential–integrative model of therapy, and an Honorary Diploma from the East European Association of Existential Therapy.
Dr. Schneider is also a founding member of the Existential–Humanistic Institute in San Francisco, which in August 2012 launched one of the first certificate programs in existential–humanistic practice to be offered in the U.S. The institute is to receive the Charlotte and Karl Buhler Award for an outstanding organizational contribution to humanistic psychology from APA Div. 32 in August 2016.
In April 2010, Dr. Schneider delivered the opening keynote address at the First International (East-West) Existential Psychology Conference in Nanjing, China, and has frequently been invited to speak at various similar venues in China — as well as Japan — over the last several years. He is slated to deliver a workshop at Sigmund Freud University, Paris, followed by a keynote address at the First World Congress of Existential Psychotherapy in London in May 2015.
For more information on Dr. Schneider's work visit his website.
- Angus, L., Watson, J., Elliott, R., Schneider, K., & Timulak, L. (2014). Humanistic psychotherapy research 1990–2015: From methodological innovation to evidence-supported treatment outcomes and beyond, Psychotherapy Research, DOI: 10.1080/10503307.2014.989290
- Bugental, J.(1976). The search for existential identity. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
- Heatherington, L., Messer, S.B., Angus, L., Strauman, T.J., Friedlander, M.L., and Kolden, G.G. (2012). The narrowing of theoretical orientations in clinical psychology doctoral programs. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 19, 364–374.
- Krug, O. T. (2009). James Bugental and Irvin Yalom: Two masters of existential therapy cultivate presence in the therapeutic encounter. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 49, (3) Summer.
- May, R., & Angel, E., & Ellenberger, H.F. (Eds.). (1958). Existence: A new dimension in psychiatry and psychology. New York: Basic Books.
- Pierson, J., Krug, O., Sharp, J., & Piwowarski, T. (2015).Cultivating psychotherapist artistry: Model existential–humanistic training programs. In K. Schneider, J. Pierson, & J. Bugental (Eds.), The handbook of humanistic psychology: Theory, research, and practice (2nd ed., pp. 631–652). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Schneider, K. (1999). The paradoxical self: Toward an understanding of our paradoxical nature. Amherst, NY: Humanity Books. (Original work published 1990)
- Schneider, K. (2004). Rediscovery of awe: Splendor, mystery, and the fluid center of life. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House.
- Schneider, K. (2009). Awakening to awe: Personal stories of profound transformation. Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson.
- Schneider, K. (2013). The polarized mind: Why it's killing us and what we can do about it. Colorado Springs, CO: University Professors Press.
- Schneider, K. (Ed.) (2008). Existential–integrative psychotherapy: Guideposts to the core of practice. New York: Routledge.
- Schneider, K. J., & Längle, A. (2012). The renewal of humanism in psychotherapy:
- Schneider, K., & Krug, O. (2010). Existential–humanistic therapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.
- Schneider, K., & May, R. (1995). The psychology of existence: An integrative, clinical perspective. New York: McGraw Hill.
- Summary and conclusions. Psychotherapy, 49, 480–481.
- Wampold, B. (2008, February 6). Existential–integrative psychotherapy comes of age [Review of the book Existential–Integrative Psychotherapy: Guideposts to the Core of Practice]. PsycCRITIQUES, 53, Release 6, Article 1.
- Yalom, I. (1980). Existential psychotherapy. New York: Basic Books.
- Existential Therapy
Kirk J. Schneider
- Existential–Humanistic Therapy Over Time
Kirk J. Schneider
- Feminist Therapy Supervision
Laura S. Brown
- The Integrative Developmental Model of Supervision
- Relational Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Supervision
Joan E. Sarnat
- Systems Approach to Psychotherapy Supervision
Elizabeth L. Holloway
- Existential–Humanistic Therapy
Kirk J. Schneider
- Supervision Essentials for a Systems Approach to Supervision
Elizabeth L. Holloway
- Supervision Essentials for Psychodynamic Psychotherapies
Joan E. Sarnat
- Supervision Essentials for the Feminist Psychotherapy Model of Supervision
Laura S. Brown
- Supervision Essentials for the Integrative Developmental Model
Brian W. McNeill and Cal D. Stoltenberg
- Supervision Essentials for Existential–Humanistic Therapy
This concise guide utilizes the key ingredients of the existential–humanistic therapeutic approach, including empathy, acceptance, and genuineness, to demonstrate how clinical trainees can create safe, collaborative, and supportive relationships with clients.