SEA Conference – Call for papers

Those who have an interest in perpetuating the present always shed tears for the marvellous past about to disappear without casting a smile on the young future.Simone de Beauvoir

This year we celebrated the SEA’s 35th anniversary!  In honour of this milestone, this year’s hybrid annual conference will again be held over two days, on the 11th and 12th of November, at the familiar NCVO venue as well as online.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Back to Basics; into the Future”, a title I hope embodies our collective aim to revisit the fundamentals of existential phenomenological psychotherapy while concurrently envisaging its future trajectory.  This theme has been born out of the complex, idiosyncratic and conflicting post-conference feedback I’ve received from members/attendees over the past 8 years.

My hope for this year, my last as conference organiser, is to reflect upon and re-examine the fundamentals of our practice as therapists.  To engage with, challenge and affirm/dismantle the core tenets of existential psychotherapy that resonate with us, while also seeking to expand our learning, to adapt to the needs of our evolving and diverse Society, while also providing space and engagement to tackle and serve the breadth of individuals and needs we encounter in our practice.
“Back to Basics; into the Future”, embodies a collective aim to revisit the basics of existential phenomenological psychotherapy while concurrently envisaging its future trajectory.

We are calling for speakers and workshop facilitators who are interested and open to challenging/advocating for the Status Quo:

  • Reconnecting with our Roots: It is crucial to remember and comprehend the fundamental principles that underpin our work as existential psychotherapists. These tenets are not merely historical relics, but active, dynamic foundations that inform our everyday practice. In revisiting them, do we keep the essence of our practice alive and relevant?
  • Reflecting on our Evolution: Over the years, our field has grown and adapted in response to societal shifts and advances in knowledge and technology. This includes the recognition and valuing of diverse identities, experiences and needs within our client base, as well as something that is so often overlooked, amongst ourselves! Reflecting on this evolution helps us recognise our achievements and challenges and chart our ongoing journey.
  • Imagining the Future: Is there any escape from AI/Chat GPT?  What does the future hold for existential psychotherapy? How can we uphold our foundational principles while being responsive to the changing world around us? I hope this year’s theme encourages us to project our ideas and aspirations into the future, fostering growth and adaptation while maintaining continuity with our existential roots.
  • Engaging with Diversity: The field of psychotherapy has significantly diversified over the years. Today, our Society is composed of members from numerous backgrounds, providing therapy for a wide-reaching spectrum of clients. In embracing diversity, we can glean a richer, multi-faceted understanding of the human condition, thereby enhancing our practice.

I feel the theme “Back to Basics; into the Future” offers a unique opportunity to engage in these critical conversations, fostering a sense of shared purpose as we navigate the complexities of being therapists in a rapidly evolving world. I hope that our exploration of this theme will inspire thoughtful reflections, spirited discussions, and enriching insights.

We would like to invite you to contribute your unique perspectives, knowledge and experiences. If you have something to say that aligns with the conference theme and would like to be considered as a speaker/presenter or workshop facilitator, we warmly encourage you to express your interest.

As in previous years, due to the popularity of slots and in an effort to ensure diversity of speakers and topics, we urge you to submit your interest sooner rather than later. Please keep in mind that while we appreciate the breadth of psychotherapeutic discourse, the focus of this year’s conference is specifically on existential psychotherapy as it develops it past towards the future.
The final selection will be made by August, giving those selected ample time to prepare.

Our Annual Conference will take place: Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th November

TBC timetable of weekend:

  • Saturday 11th November: we will commence with a keynote speech in the morning, followed by a series of lectures in the afternoon.
  • Sunday 12th November: we will run a series of practical workshop experiences, and close out the Conference with a fireside chat or a keynote address.

Tickets for the conference will go on sale by the end of June. Options will include tickets for both in-person and online:

  • Saturday only
  • Sunday only
  • Full two-day conference.

The conference represents an exciting opportunity to reflect on our shared journey, re-evaluate our common principles, and shape our collective future in psychotherapy. We look forward to hearing your ideas, and to the enriching discussions this conference promises to bring.

To express interest, please email with your proposed topic and a brief outline of your presentation.