Boulder Psychotherapy Institute

Advanced Training in Applied Existential Psychotherapy (AEP)

An Experiential Psychodynamic Gestalt Approach   •   Boulder, Colorado

1. AEP Individual Training: Module I

BPI Senior Faculty

  • Explore the 4 cornerstones of AEP Therapy: Awareness, Contact, Experiment, Choice.

  • Develop the capacity to recognize and work with polarities (conflicting forces in the psyche).

  • Learn to attend to body and process as well verbal material and content.

  • Learn to work with defenses or boundary disturbances in here and now interactions.

  • Learn to role-play intrapsychic and interpersonal conflicts and dreams.

  • Learn to work with transference, countertransference and relationship in an AEP context.

  • Learn to deepen to emotional states and family of origin issues that move clients to profound change.

  • Learn to work with existential and psychodynamic issues that arise in the course of deep level therapy.

The Training: AEP interlaces the insights of contemporary existential and psychoanalytic/psychodynamic approaches with techniques inspired by Gestalt therapy and other experiential approaches. It takes into account the full spectrum of human experience--body, meaning, emotion, the impact of the past, and the choices that need to be made to create a different future. The approach was founded by BPI President Betty Cannon, who has published widely in the field of existential therapy. Her book, Sartre and Psychoanalysis, is considered a classic in the field.

In this training, you will learn to attend to the Here and Now in a way that produces immediacy and authentic relationship. You will also learn to deepen to emotional states and family of origin issues that move clients to profound change. Body and process are emphasized along with verbal material and content.

Interventions inspired by Gestalt empty chair work, body-oriented psychotherapy, and other experiential approaches bring family of origin issues alive in ways that allow clients to image the future differently as they move forward in a new way. You will also learn to work with existential issues such as anxiety, death, aloneness, identity, traumatic shock, and other issues.

The workshop includes both experiential and didactic components. Lectures, demonstrations, videos, experiential exercises, and practice provide the opportunity to learn the skills of an in-depth approach that facilitates deep-level personal transformation. AEP work can be integrated with other approaches to allow for more immediacy in the therapeutic encounter.

Location: 1140 Lehigh Street, Boulder, CO 80305

Dates: Saturday Afternoons, July 2017-Mar 2018

Time: 1:00 to 5:15 pm (first 15 minutes social time)

: $1500 (It is also possible to arrange a payment plan and to pay per group. Cost for all groups is $25 per hour or $100 for a 4-hour training group.)

Discount: 10% discount if you register and pay by June 25, 2017

Robyn Chauvin, M.A., LPC, MT-BC, is a licensed professional counselor with more than 20 years experience in hospice, inpatient psychiatric work, and private practice working with individuals, couples, and groups. Her approach and methodologies include Applied Existential Psychotherapy (AEP), Gestalt Therapy, Psychodrama, and The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music. Of particular interest is working toward wholeness with persons facing internalized oppression or complicated trauma. Robyn is an adjunct faculty member at Naropa University and a senior trainer at the Boulder Psychotherapy Institute.


History and Influences on AEP: Gestalt Therapy, Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Rogerian Nondirectional Therapy, Body Oriented Psychotherapy, Trauma Work, Existential Philosophy

Model of the Psyche: Perls and Sartre - Consciousness as No Thing; Perls - Five Layers of the Neurosis

Direction of Change in Therapy: Moving from the Spirit of Seriousness to the Spirit of Play

Five Pillars of AEP: Un-knowing, Awareness, Contact, Experiment, Choice. 

Emphasis on Body Awareness: Mirroring the Body

The Language of Responsibility (Response-ability)

Polarities and the Division between Reflective and Prereflective Consciousness

Typical Stages of an AEP Working: Deepening to Family of Origin Issues and Back Again

Defenses as Boundary Disturbances: Introjection, Projection, Retroflection, Deflection, Confluence, Identification with the Aggressor, Projective Identification, Denial, Dissociation, Splitting, Reaction Formation, etc.

The Cycle of Awareness: Sensation, Awareness, Mobilization, Action, Final Contact, Satisfaction, Withdrawal

Unfinished Business: Transference and Countertransference in an AEP Setting

AEP Work with Dreams: Enacting the Dream

AEP Work with Trauma: Meaning and Despair

Psychodynamic Issues in AEP: The Family of Origin and Developmental Conflicts

Existential Issues in AEP: Nothingness as the Ground for Change

1140 Lehigh Street, Boulder, Colorado 80305  •  303 494 0393

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