Existential therapies are an inspiring range of psychological therapeutic approaches. They are inspired by existential and philosophical ideas, and address topics such as relationships, meaning in life, decisions in life, freedom, death and suffering. Although they are some of the oldest therapeutic approaches, they are sometimes misunderstood and regarded as unscientific. The opposite is true! A large body of research supports the main theories and practices in existential therapies. However, research is also clear that -despite their good intentions- some therapists and trainers may be less effective and less evidence-based than others. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to distinguish the fertile wheat from the evidence-based chaff in existential therapies.

The presenter of this workshop is an internationally recognised researcher and practitioner of existential therapies, Dr Joel Vos. In this workshop, he will give an overview of research on existential therapies, and how practitioners could apply these key findings in their therapeutic practices. This workshop may also be relevant for students doing research on existential topics. This workshop will be divided in three parts: empirical research on the key therapeutic concepts, therapeutic competences, and outcomes of existential therapies. This will not only show that existential therapies can in general be very effective, but also that there are key skills that individual therapists can learn to improve their work with clients.

This online workshop will consist of a lecture about the main research findings on existential therapies, self-development exercises for self-reflection, and group discussion. Joel Vos will also give the participants recommendations how they could further develop their practitioner skills to help clients with existential concerns. This workshop does not require any prior learning, and everyone can join. The workshop will be the most relevant for mental health professionals, such as counsellors, psychotherapists, counselling/clinical psychologists. All formats will be hosted via Zoom, and procedures for participating in the different formats will be explained on the day (they’re very straightforward). We ask all participants to commit to maintaining strict confidentiality: not disclosing something that has been shared by another participant outside of the workshop.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the workshops, participants will be able to:

  • Understand key outcomes and trends in research on existential therapies;
  • Understand evidence-based therapeutic concepts in existential therapies;
  • Understand how therapists could develop evidence-based existential competences;
  • Apply key evidence-based existential competences to their therapeutic practice.

Suggested reading:

Vos, J. (2021). The Existential Therapeutic Competences Framework. International Journal of Psychotherapy, 25(1), 9-52.

Vos, J. (2019). A review of research on existential‐phenomenological therapies. The Wiley world handbook of existential therapy, 592-614.

Vos, J. (2017). Meaning in life: An evidence-based handbook for practitioners. Macmillan. (this is a handbook and practical guide for practitioners, such as therapists, counsellors, coaches, nurses and priests)

Vos, J. (2016a). Working with meaning in life in mental health care: A systematic literature review of the practices and effectiveness of meaning-centred therapies. Clinical perspectives on meaning, 59-87.

Vos, J. (2016b). Working with meaning in life in mental health care: A systematic literature review of the practices and effectiveness of meaning-centred therapies. Clinical perspectives on meaning, 59-87.

Vos, J., Cooper, M., Correia, E., & Craig, M. (2015). Existential therapies: A review of their scientific foundations and efficacy. Existential Analysis: Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis, 26(1).

Vos, J., Craig, M., & Cooper, M. (2015). Existential therapies: A meta-analysis of their effects on psychological outcomes. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 83(1), 115.

Vos, J., & Vitali, D. (2018). The effects of psychological meaning-centered therapies on quality of life and psychological stress: A metaanalysis. Palliative & supportive care, 16(5), 608-632.

Course curriculum

    1. Workshop Details

    2. Workshop Recording

About this course

  • £9.99
  • 2 lessons
  • 2 hours of video content

Your Learning Resources

  • View Recording

    View the full recording of the workshop at your leisure. Come back to the recording at any time and pick up where you left off. Watch the video as many times as you wish to deeply embed the learning.

  • CPD Certificate

    View the whole video to access a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Certificate. The Certificate is proof of your commitment to continuing and deepening your learning as a practitioner.

Dr. Joel Vos PhD.

Dr Joel Vos PhD MSc MA CPsychol FHEA is a psychologist, philosopher, author, researcher, lecturer, and existential therapist. He works as Senior Researcher and Senior Lecturer at the Metanoia Institute in London, United Kingdom. His research focuses on topics around meaning in life, social justice, and the effectiveness of humanistic and existential therapies. He is director of the IMEC International Meaning Events & Community which organises annual conferences, workshops, training, and cultural events ( He has over 100 publications, including the books ‘Meaning in Life: an evidence-based handbook for practitioners’ (MacMillan, 2017), ‘Mental health in crisis’ (Sage, 2019), ‘The economics of meaning in life’ (University Professors Press, 2020), and ‘The psychology of COVID-19’ (Sage, 2020). Upcoming training events via IMEC include ‘Certificate Evidence-Based Meaning-Centered Practitioner (23 May-25 July) and a self-development training ‘Discover your meaning in life: learn how to make decisions, enjoy and live your life to the fullest’ (23 May-25 July); IMEC also runs self-development groups on the last Wednesday evening of the month with an invited speaker, discussion and peer support (see

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