We believe and live within the concept of collaborative care. This does not mean that we would be inauthentic or in collusion with clients. It does mean that we respect the client as a person with his or her own world view. As long as this remains valid, authentic and caring it affords the client an opportunity for genuine exploration, with genuine privacy.
Existential Phenomenology is not to practice as a counselor. Any clients with health, mental health, or psychiatric/psychological/substance use issues are referred to professionals who can meet their needs or wants. I am aware of the licensing requirement for Counselors who work under the Department of Health. I do not accept clients who might need mental health/health work unless they are in a relationship with the appropriate professional. I also make it clear that the client must inform, and be advised by the professional on whether it is appropriate to meet with me.
I provide a consultancy service under the name of Existential Phenomenology . I do not do “talk/talking therapy” of any description. Existential Phenomenology is a branch of philosophy not psychology. Any topic can be the subject of philosophical inquiry. But, unlike psychology or counseling, there is no treatment, definitive answers, or presumption of ‘therapy’, only discourse. The website makes the distinction between philosophy and psychology very clear and every client seeking service is told very clearly that I am not a counselor. I do not advertise for clients. Clients are referred by word of mouth for the very specific wish for a phenomenological perspective.
Phenomenology may be defined as the study and description of structures of experience, or consciousness. Literally, phenomenology is the study of “phenomena”: appearances of events, or things as they appear in our experience, or the ways we experience things, thus the meanings things have in our experience.Phenomenology is the study of our experience — how we experience. In its root meaning, phenomenology is the study and description of phenomena: literally, appearances as opposed to reality. We, and our activities, are always “in the world”, our being is being-in-the-world, so we do not study our activities by bracketing the world, rather we interpret our activities and the meaning things have for us by looking to our contextual relations to things in the world. “Existentialism” may be defined as the philosophical theory which holds that the norm of authenticity is necessary to grasp human existence, and its phenomena. My job as a phenomenologist is to help the client describe what is there for them and to encounter those elements authentically. I do not interpret or counsel what happens next. In the discussion that follows the client will decide that for him or her self– my role is that of unika: ‘one who holds up a light to let one see’ (Chichewa). This is philosophical not psychotherapy or counseling. I have a Master’s degree from a traditional and recognized university but I do not use that degree as a qualification in the work that I do. It is, however, valid that I give a description of happens in meetings with clients. I do not advertise for clients nor do I engage in marketing or promotional activities. I am not associated with health care in any manifestation. This is a practical consultancy that relies on the dialog with the client’s description as articulated by them in our meetings.Because of the nature of the work, clients come to me because I am not a counselor and thus, they have an expectation of privacy. We do not discuss psychological or counseling issues. Privacy/confidentiality is subject to normal considerations of safety, potential or actual child abuse, and commission of felony crime. In these cases I have an obligation and legal mandate to disclose to the appropriate authorities.Clients see no need for their names and contact information to be given. I meet with a client, and discuss perspectives and possibilities. I do not offer mental health treatment, counseling, evaluation or diagnosis. At any stage in the dialog, if a health/mental health/counseling issue surfaces, I always refer to resources specific to the professional needs articulated by the client and our discourse will stop, until the client’s therapist feels that it is right to continue. The initial resource would be the family physician.Clients are always informed that I do not counsel and that if they want anything like ‘talk therapy’ they need to go to another person. I provide referrals and always check that the person is in touch with an appropriate professional.