Existential Therapy in Europe

Federation for Existential Therapy in Europe (FETE)

Contact us

Join us at the IMEC International Meaning Conference!

London 12-14 July 2019

Early bird tickets until 31 December 2018

tickets: http://imec2019.eventbrite.ca

Contributions welcome!

Send abstracts to imec2019@yahoo.com

’No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of a continent, a part of the main.’ (John Donne)

Our relationships with others are changing. We face political crises, socio-economic change, globalisation and an increasing workforce of robots and automation. With the change of our relationships, we change. Our social and personal meanings transform. Our personal values are moving under pressure from commercials and social media. How can we live a meaningful life in this dynamic context? How can we realise our personal dreams? What does research tell about these social and personal changes? How can therapists, coaches and other practitioners empower clients and help them make sense? How can the relationship with a practitioner help clients discover what is meaningful? How can research socially empower individuals? How can social theory direct us towards positive transformation? How do mental health advocates, political activists and artists strive for social justice?

One aim of this conference is connecting people. We want to connect and learn from each other’s theoretical and practical wisdom. We come from many different disciplines: existential philosophy and therapy, coaching, positive and phenomenological psychology, sociology, politics, theology, anthropology, business, HR, and art. We are researchers, practitioners in mental health care, philosophers, activists and artists. We have many interactive and creative forms of connecting, via lectures, workshops, debates, experiential exercises, live client demonstrations, social events… Anyone can propose a presentation, workshop or symposium, and contribute in the open spaces in the program. In the social program, there is opportunity to show your creative talent with music, poetry, art and other forms!

Another aim is exploring the social changes. Researchers will share their findings on social development. Psychologists, sociologists and activists will describe their understanding and vision how we can live a meaningful life.

An additional aim is learning meaningful practices. The pre-conference program offers hands-on skill workshops for therapists, researchers and activists.

II World Congress for Existential Therapy

Anxiety and guilt in times of change. Opening and possibilities.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, from May 8 to May 11, 2019


Universidad del Salvador. Faculty of Psychology and Psycho Education.

Marcelo T. de Alvear 1335. Buenos Aires City. Argentina.

The 2nd World Congress for Existential Psychotherapy, which will be held in the city of Buenos Aires, welcomes you.

During the realization of Ist. World Congress for Existential Therapy held in London in May 2015, we decided to make world congresses every four years, creating at the same time the World Confederation of Existential Psychotherapy, whose acronym is WCET. At that time Buenos Aires was chosen to host the Second Congress and ALPE (Latin American Association of Existential Psychotherapy) as organizer.

We expect to give continuity to the way undertaken in that moment, giving place to all the voices of the different orientations that the existential therapy has at present.

We will be accompanied by prestigious therapists of the whole world, which will facilitate the meeting, the exchange, the dialog and the debate on the most varied topics of interest for the existential therapists.

In this web page you will find all the necessary information in order that your trip to Argentina and your participation in the Congress turns into an unforgettable experience.


Since May 2015, this working group of 18 members has held regular work online meetings, agreeing the basic structures of the organisation. It has produced a constitution for the Federation of Existential Therapy in Europe (FETE), which was approved at a meeting in London in November 2016. This work formed the basis for our application as a European wide charitable organisation (CIO) based in the UK. We went through a laborious process of agreeing everything by consensus, through structured comparative analysis, studying several organisational models to find the best working model for our Federation.

All work sessions were carefully minuted and documented to increase the transparency of the decision process. The working group was able to complete the process in London after a hard stint of collaborative work between 11th and 13th November 2016.

We then went on to prepare the documentation for the application as a charity and had a very productive with a smaller team in Tel Aviv, Israel to conclude the work.

The following people were part of the working group of FETE:

Bo Blåvarg CPsychol
Dr Edgar Agrela Correia PhD, AdvD, Post-MA, MA, PgD
Professor Emmy van Deurzen PhD, MPsych, MPhil, FBPsS, CPsychol, FBACP, UKCPF, HCPCreg
Dr Peter Donders PhD
Ferhat Jake İçöz MA, M.Sc., Psy.D. Candidate
Professor Rimantas Kočiūnas
Dr Elita Kreislere
Dr Ingeborg Künz
Lenka Lemeer
Professor Dmitry A. Leontiev,
Ph.D., Dr.Sc.
Dr Gideon Menda, B.A., M.A., D.Prof, UKCP Reg.
David Palmquist CPsychol, MBPsS
Dr Christian Schulz-Quach MD, MSc, MRCPsych, MBACP
Paola Pomponi UKCP (accr.) MBACP
Professor Digby Tantam MA, MPH, PhD, FRCPsych, FBPsS, FBACP, UKCPF, FHEA
Siebrecht Vanhooren, Ph.D.
Dr Semjon Yesselson
Dr Katerina Georgalos Zymnis
C.P.A., M.Sc., PhD

The working group was chaired, coordinated and organised by Christian Schulz-Quach, David Palmquist and Paola Pomponi.

1st World Congress of Existential Therapy

The founding meeting of FETE at the World Congress in London, 2015


FETE is a charitable organisation for Existential Psychotherapists in Europe. It aims to represent existential therapy in Europe and was established as a CIO, approved by the United Kingdom Charities Commission in 2017.

FETE was first conceived of in May 2015.  During the first World Congress of Existential Therapy in London, a large interest group of congress delegates representing several European countries held an open meeting on 16 May, during which they discussed possible ways of collaboration and expressed the desire and need to form a European Federation representing and supporting Existential Therapists. During this meeting, individuals from 18 different countries volunteered to take on responsibility for developing this idea further by forming a working group towards creating a constitution and legal framework for the proposed European Federation.

The aims of FETE are:

"To create, foster and secure an ongoing development of Existential Therapy across Europe.

To provide a platform for therapeutic, academic, theoretical and applied practice exchange on the topic of existential therapy (including but not limited to: personal meetings, real world and virtual conferences etc.)

 To support and encourage European wide training and education projects on Existential Therapy.

To facilitate, support and promote exchange on the European level for members of FETE.

To act across all Countries in Geographical Europe including Israel.
(Geographical Europe is intended as includingtranscontinental countries, partially located in both Europe and Asia, such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Armenia and Cyprus).”

Definition of Existential Therapy:

"Existential Therapy is a philosophically informed approach to counseling and psychotherapy. Existential Therapy focuses on the clarification of human existence to enable a person to engage with problems in living in a creative, active and reflective manner in order to find new meaning and purpose.

Existential worldview:

Existential Therapy values the interactive, relational and embodied nature of human consciousness and human existence. It considers that human beings are free to effect change in their lives in a responsible, deliberate, ethical and thoughtful manner, by understanding their difficulties and by coming to terms with the possibilities and limitations of the human condition in general and of their own life in particular. It emphasises the importance of finding meaning and purpose by engaging with life at many levels, physical, social, personal and spiritual. It does not prescribe a particular worldview but examines the tensions  and  contradictions  in  a person’s  way  of   being. This will include a consideration of existential limits such as death, failure, weakness, guilt, anxiety and despair.

How does it work?

There are many forms of Existential Therapy and each has its own specific methods and ways of exploring difficulties and change, but all forms of existential therapy work with dialogue to enable a person to find their own authority in exploring their life and the way they want to live it. This will often involve a philosophical and ethical exploration of the big questions of human existence, such as truth, meaning, justice, beauty, freedom, consciousness, choice, responsibility, friendship and love.

Existential Therapy is a pragmatic and experiential approach which favours embodiment, emotional depth, clarity and directness and which employs the principles of logic, paradox, dialectics, phenomenology and hermeneutic exploration amongst other methods.

What does it aim for?

Existential therapists   aim   to   approach   a   person’s un-ease or suffering in a phenomenological, holistic way. Symptoms are not seen as the defining aspect of a person’s  troubles,  but rather  as  an  expression  of the  person’s disconnection  from  reality,   or distorted reality.

Therefore Existential therapists see symptoms as a way of coping with difficulty,  a  problem,  or  an  existential  crisis.  A person’s  experience will be considered at  all  levels.

Equal attention  will  be  paid  to  a  person’s past,  present  and  future. Existential therapists facilitate  a  person’s  greater  awareness  of their mode  of  being  in  the   world, helping them to be more in touch with their concrete physicality, their interactions and relationships, their engagement with their own identity or lack of it, their concept of what grounds their being and the ways in which they may be able to bring the flow and their capacity for transcendence, learning and pleasurable forward movement back to life. It helps people to tolerate and embrace suffering and difficulty to engage with it constructively.

How do we train people?

Existential therapists are trained in specialist training programs, that require training at post-graduate level and which involve theoretical learning, skills training, practical learning under supervision, a process of personal therapy to learn to apply existential principles in practice and the completion of some form of phenomenological research project or a final project that includes theory and practice.”

[excerpt from the Constitution of FETE]