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Existential Dialogues: The therapist in the mirror. Ten live dialogues between Prof Ernesto Spinelli and International Existential Therapists based on case studies that illustrate key existential topics.

24 June “Sexuality” with Prof Ernesto Spinelli and Dr Niki D

Sexuality. “Sexuality can awaken us to our interrelated being. A way of knowing ourselves through someone else” (Smith-Pickard)

“Our unique or ontic expressions of ‘being sexual’ reveal aspects of ourselves and the way in which we respond to the ontological givens of relatedness, embodiment and uncertainty. The term existential sexuality describes sexuality from an embodied, relational experience, where the intersubjective nature of sexuality is emphasised, rather than reducing sexuality to drives, physiology or cultural norms.


“We judge what we don’t understand” (unknown source)

The co-creation of a unique, open relationship can be a wonderfully empowering and uniting experience for couples who have been a closed dyad. It can also be intense, exhausting, confusing and distressing. In this discussion, I want to hone in on the specific factors and challenges that may present when one partner is requesting a move to an open or polyamorous relationship and the other is reluctant. Examining different views and assumptions about relationship styles can feel like walking a tightrope, especially when a client’s unreflected mononormative bias is in the room. It’s a theme that has tripped me up in sessions and one I would like to explore further in this dialogue.” Niki D

Niki D is an existential psychotherapist with 30 years’ experience in private practice, statutory and voluntary sectors. She works with individuals and groups, as a relationship therapist, supervisor, CPD trainer and a visiting lecturer at Regents University. She has an MA in Existential Psychotherapy, a diploma in working with GSRD clients (gender, sexual and relationship diverse) in Relationship Therapy and additional training in somatic body therapy. She is a clinical associate of Pink Therapy and has recently written a chapter on working with couples opening up their relationship – for the fourth volume in the Pink Therapy series (co-edited by Dominic Davies & Silva Nieves and due to be published in 2023).

Professor Ernesto Spinelli was Chair of the Society for Existential Analysis between 1993 and 1999 and is a Life Member of the Society. His writings, lectures and seminars focus on the application of existential phenomenology to the arenas of therapy, supervision, psychology, and executive coaching. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS) as well as an APECS accredited executive coach and coaching supervisor. In 2000, he was the Recipient of BPS Division of Counselling Psychology Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession. And in 2019, Ernesto received the BPS Award for Distinguished Contribution to Practice. His most recent book, Practising Existential Therapy: The Relational World 2nd edition (Sage, 2015) has been widely praised as a major contribution to the advancement of existential theory and practice. Living up to the existential dictum that life is absurd, Ernesto is also the author of an on-going series of Private Eye novels.

Venue: Online Zoom

Read the full programme here >

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