A concise introduction to existential counselling

A new book by Regent’s University London academic Martin Adams offers brief and accessible pocket guide to the underlying theory and practice of the existential approach.

Although I was asked to write this book by Sage having written Skills in Existential Counselling and Psychotherapy, with Emmy van Deurzen it was a book I had long wanted to write. It always puzzled me that existentialists wrote very long books which were difficult to understand because to me existential ideas are about everyday experience. I thought there must be a way to talk about these ideas in a more accessible way without losing any of the subtlety.

Cover of Existential Counselling book

I wanted to write for an uninformed but interested readership like the passionately curious students I teach on the Foundation course and also for the same book to be just as useful and exciting for those more jaded MA and Doctoral students further on in their training.

While writing it I always had in mind the questions that I and my classmates had when I was training at Regent’s University London. And I tried to answer them in ways that would have been satisfactory to me then, with the knowledge I now know. I had to continually ask myself the question, ‘If I was to say this in as few words as possible and without using any specialist words how would I say it?’

The book

  • includes a short history of the existential tradition
  • shows how existential philosophy translates into therapeutic practice
  • discusses various issues in the therapeutic process
  • talks about how to work with a number of common presenting client issues
  • addresses the significance of existential thought in the wider world

Last but not by no means least, very few writers get to design the cover of their book. I am also an artist and some years ago I made a series of road pictures when on cycling trips. I always thought one of them would make a cover for a book and the cover is derived from one of these images.

Both Skills in Existential Counselling and Psychotherapy and A Concise Introduction to Existential Counselling are available from the Regent’s University bookshop and all good book shops.