Welcome to the Home of the Existential Movement

Autumnal trees along a leaf covered road

The war in the Middle East has been a cause of distress and concern for many of our members, in the same way in which the war in Ukraine continues to trouble us. It feels as if humanity is rapidly coming to a point of global crisis, with local centres of intense disturbance and violence.

It is important for us to acknowledge how such conflicts and wars deeply affect people’s lives and to remember that the suffering and destruction caused by them have a far reaching and long-term impact on all those involved. These upheavals reverberate across the world and make us lose hope in the human capacity for peaceful co-existence.

The Existential Movement takes the view that in times of turmoil, it is crucial to continue to find ways to inspire hope, promote compassion and find better ways towards resolution. We are aware that there are many individuals and groups, some of them associated with us, who work tirelessly for peace, reconciliation and understanding in these regions. We know that many of the therapists from these regions are making huge efforts to provide mental and emotional support to the people most deeply affected.

We believe that by creating spaces for ongoing dialogue and by fostering empathy, we can raise more awareness of the causes and consequences of war. You can contribute to this effort by supporting our goal of creating the structures for greater understanding and peace in the world.

By joining us, you would support this cause and help us in our work to promote philosophical as well as practical ideas for easing pain in times of trouble and turmoil. We have faith in the human capacity for overcoming adversity and strife, and in the human ability to resolve conflict in peaceful and just ways. We believe it is important for us to think and talk about what makes mutual trust break down and what can be done to overcome and prevent this. Each member of the movement holds responsibility in reflecting on such difficult and troublesome questions and will have some useful ideas and experiences to bring to the table, so we will be offering some events, seminars and discussion groups to allow us to come together to tackle and debate this thorny topic.

We hope you will want to add your expertise to our much needed and growing movement to bring wisdom to the world.

Prof Emmy van Deurzen

President of the Existential Movement.

“Bringing Wisdom to the World”

If you have been wondering where you might be able to find a group of people who want to bring their knowledge and experience to a worldwide movement for a better way of life, you have just found it. 

Existential ideas are a powerfully alternative way of looking at human existence.  These ideas have been around for many millennia, in the Athenian philosophies, the Eastern philosophical traditions and even, in a sense in pagan philosophies.  

They became much more prominent in the 19th century with the writings of Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche and came to fruition with the work of Husserl, when he provided the method of phenomenology. 

Most people have heard about existentialism, a mainly French 20th century philosophical movement, that broke the mould of philosophy and made it about human existence, rather than about human knowledge. 

Since then existential ideas have been applied vigorously to the practice of psychology and psychotherapy and a movement of existential therapy was generated over the past century, that is now extremely popular. All around the world existential therapists work in this way and every four years they come together for the World Congress of Existential Therapy. 

However it has now become vital to broaden the scope of the movement.  As the world is in turmoil and going through extremely dangerous times, humanity seems to have lost track of the things that really matter.  People have placed consumerism, profitability and competition at the foreground of human existence and have stopped noticing how they are ruining the eco system of the planet as well as the emotional climate in which we all live. 

News and Events

Upcoming event!

14th Nov '23

In this online workshop Prof Emmy van Deurzen will provide some pointers that will allow you to review your life and make some changes for the better.

Upcoming event!

14th Nov '23

In this online workshop with Alison Strasser you will explore how existential concepts can transform the therapeutic encounter.

The Existential Movement

8th Sep '23

In a world often entangled in chaos, the existential movement emerges as a beacon of hope and wisdom, guiding us towards understanding, purpose, and ultimately, a brighter future.

Join Our Movement

As well as joining our community of like-minded thinkers, activists and practitioners, members of the movement gain multiple benefits.

You can complete our application form online. 

Existential Therapy - A History

Existential therapy has a long pedigree, going back to ancient Greek philosophers who helped people to live better lives by interrogating their difficulties and misconceptions (Deurzen, 2009). When Socrates dialogued with the young men of Athens, calling himself a philosopher or lover of wisdom, he helped them distinguish between the illusions and errors of judgement that made them go astray and the realities and clarity of understanding that could point them in the right way. Later philosophers such as Aristotle, the Epicureans and the Stoics developed entire schools of philosophical therapy, which evolved and refined talking interventions.