Experience is the Best Teacher: Reflections on teaching Existential Therapy during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Divine Love A. Salvador


As a considerable experience of existential shattering and suffering, the Covid-19 pandemic could be a context ripe for certain kinds of learning to take place. This paper presents reflections on the value of experiential learning in the training and development of student therapists based on the reflections of my students in a graduate course on existential therapy, which I taught in the latter half of 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Student reported gains centered on enhanced self-reflection and awareness of their personal process in therapy, greater sense of confidence and competence in building therapeutic relationships, and changes in the way they relate to uncertainty, self, and world. From these student gains could be gleaned the value of guided experiential learning in training mental health professionals. Specifically, it provides the space for student therapists to cultivate attitudes and qualities associated with reflective practice and ethical competence. It also provides opportunities for student therapists to integrate their personal and professional experiences towards the development of a personal therapy approach

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