Landline: 020 8445 6000 Email:  Mobile: mob 0770 889 3166

Existential Counselling and Psychotherapy at Avenue Practice in Central & North London with Simone Lee, UKCP MBACP ECP, a registered, experienced existential and integrative psychotherapist, counsellor, supervisor and groupworker, who offers individual psychotherapy & counselling, couple counselling, marriage counselling, supervision and other consultancy services. Simone Lee is informed by humanistic & existential thinking, as has training in CBT & psychodynamic approaches. Her work is underpinned by existential phenomenological philosophy. We work with a range of issues including depression, anxiety, relationship, sexuality and sexual problems, health problems and bereavement. simone lee ukcp ecp Mbacp
avenue  psychotherapy practice
counselling & psychotherapy services in london
north london, central london, international  & nationwide referral network
skype, face to face, online and by phone

home existential individual  & couple counselling & psychotherapy clinical supervision for individuals & groups
 & other services
simone lee, psychotherapist & counsellor, at
avenue practice
existential philosophy and existentialism fees & frequently asked questions contact, maps to North London and Central London practices & links


existential philosophy in a nutshell

approach and philosophy
Existential philosophy is interested in how human beings live and make sense of their lives given the limitations of what it is to be human.  Existential psychotherapy is underpinned by existential thinking.  Existential philosophy or existentialism, unlike more intellectual philosophies, is a practical philosophy and is best understood by the experience of living it.   It follows on, therefore, that existential psychotherapy cannot be a systematised model of working, because it prizes individual experience which is different for each of us; so the therapy is better called an “existential ‘dimension’ in therapy” (Kovel, 1991).

what has existential philosophy got to do with psychotherapy?
The way we live our lives inevitably reflects our response to the conditions of life .

Some of these conditions befall us seemingly by chance, such as being born in a particular place, era, social setting, race, culture, into a language, in a body, with or without family or siblings, into a wealthy or poor family and so on.  And life itself is so fragile:   we have only to pick up a newspaper or turn on the television to be reminded of  illness, violent acts of nature, extraordinary accidents, warfare and famine. Chance events could suddenly affect our lives and those of people around us utterly. 

And from the time we are born,  we have a limited life span to make meanings and values and find some purpose for ourselves in our lives. The choices each of us makes, no matter what our circumstances,  reflect our philosophy: we all live according to a philosophy. You could even say that saying you have no philosophy is a philosophical statement of sorts.

One of the principal existential questions and one which is  addressed in the therapy is "How can I understand and make something meaningful of my life that reflects a truth for me knowing that ultimately I cannot control the world around me,  and in the awareness that time is always ticking away?"   While this question is unlikely to be asked explicitly, it is always implicit in the attitude of of our explorations so that  you can understand better and appraise your lived philosophy.

what is phenomenology?
In broad terms, the interest of phenomenology  is to get to "the things themselves", to look at how things actually appear to or are experienced by us.

In therapy, this means we try to get to how you really experience, see and make sense of the world. That is why you are the expert of your life, because only you can know what it's like to be you in the world.  In therapy, working with this assumption,  you are invited to open up and look at your lived experience afresh. In our conversations, it is likely that you will identify some assumptions and biases whose impact you were not fully aware of.  And when we look carefully, you might find that some assumptions you hold do not actually stand up to your own scrutiny, might even be unhelpful to you; to counterbalance that, and equally important in our explorations, you may also surface some central values that do reveal rich seams of meaning in your life.

An example of a value that might not be helpful to you in a day-to-day life could be that you think it is very important to be clever and to be seen to be clever;  you might even feel bad or worthless, when you make a mistake. Another example is that you think the only correct and good way to be is  to have nice thoughts about other people,  so when you feel angry or less generous towards others, you feel guilty and bad about yourself. As with any dilemmas or concerns you bring, the focus in the explorations would be the truth of  these values for you. Our conversations might reveal some strong influences that you have adopted and taken for granted and we might discover that when you question the validity of  these judgments and are more generous to yourself, you feel freer and are able to respond much more openly and creatively in life. Gaining more perspective might allow you to see how these values have aspects which can and, perhaps already do, influence your life in a positive way too.

To summarise, phenomenology is simply to try to see everything for what it is. I think of it as trying to get  a 360° and inside-out and back-to-front view of things.  It can be very interesting and sometimes surprising work.   

isn't existentialism all about being selfish and talking about death?
Absolutely not. This is a(n unfair?) stereotype of students in Paris in the 60s, where Jean Paul Sartre was a great hero. In actual fact, existentialism is concerned with human existence, and the fact that we were born at all and will die is an implicit part of life itself.  For existentialism to be considered part of a ME, ME, ME culture, is a lamentable misunderstanding. We each experience ourselves and make sense of the world within a shared realm of being human, we live a a with-world. The theme of sharing humanity with others (and, paradoxically, being utterly unique) is bound with another equally important theme of responsibility.

doesn't everything human have an existential  inclusion then?
I think so.

does this mean you spout philosophy all the time?
Not at all.  In the belief that it is a lived philosophy, there is a great ordinariness about this way of working which celebrates the non-intellectual and the non-scientific. I have described how I work on the home page and elaborated on it  on my page about counselling and psychotherapy. For more information, please get it touch. I am always happy to answer your questions.

who are the key existential thinkers?
Soren Kierkegaard is often called the father of existentialism. And later,  Friedrich Nietzsche,  also challenged some fundamental questions about truth and existence.  Their ideas synthesised with some of the phenomenological writings of Edmund Husserl influenced some central existential thinkers such as Martin Heidegger, Jean Paul Sartre, Merleau-Ponty.  Many other philosophers and philosophical therapeutic workers are considered to be existential or have strong existential leanings: Martin Buber, Paul Tillich, Karl Jaspers, Medard Boss, Ludwig Binswanger, R D Laing, Emmy van Deurzen, Ernesto Spinelli are names you might recognise.

where can I find out more about this subject?

"what in the world is existential psychotherapy?" by Simone Lee


George Boering's Website

Cohn, H (1997) Existential Thought and Therapeutic Practice
van Deurzen, E (1997) Everyday Mysteries, London (Routledge)
Kovel, J (1991) A Complete Guide to Therapy. Penguin
Warnock, M (1970) Existentialism. Oxford University Press.



Confidential enquiries, more  information or to book an initial meeting,  please contact: 020 8445 6000

North London & Central London Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling Services for Individuals, Couples and Organisations. Supervision. Online, Telephone and Face to Face work.  Depression. Anxiety. Relationships Abuse. Sexuality Crises. Bereavement and most other issues worked with. Psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors and therapists using CBT, EMDR, psychodynamic, person centred, existential and other approaches in Nationwide referral network.