COUN6941 Existential Humanistic Therapy Specialisation

Master Course Unit

COUN6941 Existential Humanistic Therapy Specialisation

Level: Masters

Credit points: 4

Prerequisites: Advanced Counselling Applications

Recommended prerequisites: Approaches to Therapy I and Approaches to Therapy II

Unit description

This unit offers a foundational understanding in existential philosophy, how it can be applied to a variety of client groups and clinical situations, and the therapeutic methods which can be used. Students should gain clinical competence in the integration of their therapeutic practice and philosophical understanding.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to: 

  • demonstrate an understanding of existential philosophy as it applies to working with clients in a therapeutic context
  • demonstrate an ability to apply the phenomenological method to therapeutic practice
  • articulate and critically evaluate contemporary existential methods of clinical practice
  • identify and articulate the differences in practice and theory between contemporary views of psychopathology and the existential concept of difficulties in living
  • integrate and articulate the personal relevance of existential ideas within your therapeutic practice

Unit content

  • Working Philosophically
  • Phenomenology
  • The Existential Givens
  • Authenticity and the Aims of Existential Therapy
  • Existence as Being-in-the-World-with-Others
  • Clarifying Worldviews
  • Working with the Self and Sedimentations
  • Dimensions of Existence
  • Time and Temporality
  • Emotions and Dreams
  • The Therapeutic Relationship
  • Owning the Existential Approach

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 13 hours per week.

Assignment summary



Word count


Reflective Essay




Academic Essay




Graduate attributes

The following graduate attributes will be developed in this unit:

  • Creative self-expression
  • Reasoned criticism
  • Multiple research methodologies
  • Complex data acquisition techniques and analysis
  • Written expression and reasoned argument from empirical data
  • Evaluating possible outcomes of alternative courses of action

Recommended text

van Deurzen, E. (2010). Everyday mysteries: A handbook of existential psychotherapy (2nd ed.). Hove, England: Brunner-Routledge.

van Deurzen, E., & Arnold-Baker, C. (2005). Existential perspectives on human issues: A handbook for therapeutic practice. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the semester.