The Institute of Humanistic and Existential Psychotherapy (HEPI) was founded in 1995 in Vilnius. Since 1996, most activities of the Institute are concentrated in Birštonas (90 km from Vilnius), a nice and cosy health resort on the coast of river Nemunas.
The most important goal of the Institute is to promote existential phenomenological psychology and therapy, to develop training programmes, offer training to professionals.
There are over 30 teachers, supervisors and therapists on the staff of the Institute, including 3 professors, 12 holders of M.D. or Ph.D. in psychology or philosophy, 10 holders of the European Certificate of Psychotherapy. Most of the staff have vast psychotherapeutic experience of many years in practice.
In June 2015, the Accreditation Committee of the European Association of Psychotherapy (EAP) awarded the Institute with the status of European Accredited Psychotherapy Training Institution (EAPTI).
The most significant role in the life of the Institute is taken by the international two-level (Basic and Professional) training programme “Existential Therapy”. This programme is approved by the Lithuanian Psychotherapy Association and the Clinical and Organizational Psychology Department of the Vilnius University. Its content and volume conforms to the requirements of the European Psychotherapy Certificate.
Following successful completion of the Basic Level of the programme, the Institute issues a certificate attesting basic knowledge and skills in existential therapy acquired by the student. Upon completion of the studies at the Professional Level, the student is awarded the Diploma of Psychotherapist (in existential therapy).
Since 1996, the Basic Level in Existential Therapy was completed by almost 40 training groups, which included colleagues from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Poland, Spain, France, Israel and Canada. The Professional Level was completed by fourteen training groups.
The Institute offers training in existential therapy also in Russia (the Basic Level course). In 2002 – 2004, in cooperation with All-Russia Professional Psychotherapeutic League, one group was trained in Moscow, followed by others in 2005 – 2007 in Surgut, in 2006 – 2008 and 2010 – 2012 in Ivanovo, in 2013-2015 again in Moscow.
In 2003, the Institute offered a training programme in Existential Therapy Supervision (304 hours). Eligible students must have completed both levels of Existential Therapy programme. The first supervisors were awarded their certificated in 2004 and joined the HEPI team as supervisors for students in Basic Level.
In 2005, the Institute offered a programme in Basics of Psychological Counselling and Psychotherapy to those interested in the practice of psychological help and willing to acquire some skills in this field. In later years, this programme was modified to become the Introductory Course of the Existential Therapy Programme for candidates without education in psychology or medicine, but willing to enter the profession of psychotherapy. This programme, including 254 classroom hours (theory 94 h and practice 204 hours), provides basics in counselling theory and crisis intervention, introduces discussions of specific cases of psychotherapy, offers group therapy experience and supervision of ‘live’ therapeutic practice.
In 2006, the Institute commenced training in group therapy. The Group Therapy Programme is offered to those who want to learn to work with therapeutic groups and apply group therapeutic methods in the practice of counselling and psychotherapy. It consists of three stages: during the first two, most attention is given to the theory of group therapy and ways of analysis of its experience, along with ‘live’ practice in small short-term groups. The third stage requires students to independently organize a therapeutic group and work with for a certain period ov time. Upon successful completion of all three stages students are awarded a Diploma in Group Therapy.
In 2015, the Institute offered one more training programme – Coping With Psychological Crises – prepared by Kristina Polukordienė, Ph.D. Its eligible students are all those who work in the crisis intervention field or wish to have related theoretical knowledge and practical skills.
Along with these ‘big’ training programmes, every year the Institute hosts few (2 to 4) short practical seminars of 2-4 days: Bibliotherapy (by Aleksandras Alekseičikas), Coping with Psychological Crises (by Kristina Polukordienė), The Phenomenon of Forgiving in Psychotherapy (by Julija Abakumova-Kočiūnienė), Existential Philosophy (by Prof. Tomas Sodeika) and so on.