• The Existential Counselling Primer (second edition): a concise introduction

The Existential Counselling Primer (second edition): a concise introduction

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ISBN 9781910919750
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Part of the PCCS Books bestselling Primers in Counselling series, The Existential Counselling Primer is a concise summary of the philosophical origins of existentialist therapy, existentialist understandings of what it is to be human, and how both inform the theory and practice of existential counselling. It ends with a case study to demonstrate what the approach might look like in practice and includes a helpful glossary of key terms and terminology.

The PCCS Books primers offer students concise, accessible descriptions of the key counselling approaches in widespread use today. The series is ideal for students needing texts that provide a bridge between introductory, intermediate and diploma courses or easily digested summaries of the different approaches for comparative essays and integrative theory assignments. The books are perfect supplements to the Steps in Counselling series to accompany students as they progress through training. They are also a helpful for qualified counsellors considering expanding their repertoire of skills.

In this revised second edition, Mick Cooper has updated the references to incorporate important additions to the literature and added to some sections to reflect developments in thinking and practice.


1. The origins of existential therapy

2. Key existential therapies

3. Human being: an existential understanding

4. Chronic psychological distress

5. The therapeutic process

6. Therapeutic methods

7. The process of change

8. Issues and applications

9. Research

10. Client study: a personal existential practice

Resources for learning


‘A very clear introduction to existential counselling by one of Britain’s leading counselling academics. It will whet your appetite and leave you wanting more, which is exactly the point of a primer. Mick Cooper writes clearly, sensitively and engagingly. A gem of a book!’
Windy Dryden, Emeritus Professor of Psychotherapeutic Studies, Goldsmith’s, University of London

‘An insightful and wholly accessible introduction to the key concepts and theories in existential therapy and its philosophical foundations. The use of case examples and descriptions of the different methods used by existential practitioners demonstrates how the theory can be applied in practice. Mick Cooper artfully translates complex ideas so they feel real for those new to the approach, while respecting the sophistication and variance in the way these therapies are understood. Existential issues are ever present in the therapy room and this is a key text for any therapist wishing to be able to respond to questions around how to live with purpose and accept the inevitability of dying. A must-read for students and practitioners alike.’
Kate Smith PhD, Head of Division of Health Sciences, Abertay University

Mick Cooper

Mick Cooper is Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton and a practising counselling psychologist. Mick is author and editor of a range of texts on person-centred, existential, and relational approaches to therapy. Mick has led a series of research studies – both qualitative and quantitative – exploring the processes and outcomes of person-centred counselling with young people, and has published in a range of leading international psychotherapy journals. He is a Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Academy of Social Sciences.

He is the father of four children and lives in Brighton, on the south coast of England.

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Mick Cooper