About EH 2018-12-08T13:47:33+00:00

The Development of Existential-Humanistic NorthWest

The original idea for the EHNW professional organization was envisioned by local Portland psychotherapist, Bob Edelstein, as a result of his passion for the existential-humanistic perspective. His vision was influenced by being a board member of the Existential Humanistic Institute in San Francisco. He wanted to develop a similar organization that would support psychotherapists, counselors, and healing professionals who practice from the E-H perspective, which would in turn help them to better serve their clients, the public, and the world. EHNW had its first meeting in November of 2010, and continues to move forward through the work of the 12-member board.

Your generosity will go to work right away, helping to support the community programs and services Existential-Humanistic Northwest (EHNW) facilitates.

All our work promotes our existential-humanistic values. Your gift supports our ability to bring this work to the world.

    Education: Providing educational training for clinical practitioners in the areas of E-H theory and therapy practice.[/fusion_li_item]

  • Advocacy: Advocating for E-H psychotherapy with the aim of having better representation within both professional communities and to the public.
  • Membership, Peer Support, Outreach: Offering dynamic support through intentionally-committed membership and professional/community outreach.
  • Interdisciplinary: Dialogue with a diverse range of academic and professional disciplinary perspectives to enhance the creative applications of E-H concepts and values.

EHNW Board Members

Existential Humanist psychotherapist Ryan Brown

Ryan Brown, LPC-Intern

Ryan is a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern and earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Goddard College, with a concentration in Sexual Orientation and specialized training in working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer clients.

Ryan works with people struggling with a diverse range of issues, and is particularly interested in exploring issues that relate to depression, anxiety, lack of fulfillment, life transitions, relationship issues, personal growth, LGBTQ issues, and polyamory & consensual non-monogamy.

He began his clinical work in 2015 at William Temple House, counseling low income individuals and couples in Portland, Oregon and launched a private practice in 2017 called Live True Counseling. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Existential-Humanistic NorthWest (EHNW), a professional organization that promotes the existential-humanistic perspective and philosophy.


Existential Humanist psychotherapist Bob Edelstein

Bob Edelstein LMFT MFT

I am passionate about the existential-humanistic perspective in both my personal and professional life. To me, the perspective embraces all of what it means to exist and values each unique, individual journey. I value that we always have a choice to change our attitude and behavior, even in the most limited of conditions or circumstances. I take on the powerful responsibility that our choice matters in that we impact the world by our feelings, thoughts and actions. This perspective also embraces that as human beings we are always moving towards health and wholeness, both individually and collectively.


Existential Humanist psychotherapist Dave Fischer

Dave Fischer PsyD

Dave is a licensed psychologist, providing compassionate and patient-centered therapy in a primary care setting. He completed a doctorate in clinical psychology and a post-doctoral fellowship in health psychology in the integrated primary care model. He currently works for Premise Health Care, at Intel Health for Life Centers and sees clients that are Intel employees or their dependents. He engages in brief interventions, diagnostic evaluations, and ongoing psychotherapy for individuals, couples, and adolescents. Dave has experience with multi-cultural patients and can provide therapy in Spanish if needed, as he has lived and traveled throughout Latin America. Dave has also taught a variety of psychology courses at several colleges and universities, including coursework in clinical, abnormal, group, adolescent and basic psychology. Dave received a year of specialized training and conducted academic research in psychotherapy with persons living with HIV. As a member of the American Psychological Association and board member of Existential-Humanistic Northwest, he brings and makes space for a broad range of perspectives to each client encounter.


Existential Humanist psychotherapist Deborah High

Deborah High LMFT

Poet Wendell Berry describes the essence of existential – humanistic therapy for me….“It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have to come to our real work and that when we no longer know which way to go we have to come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings” I do feel that being lost is what healing can sometimes feel like. Self-discovery, transformation and the yielding of a new form can be painful, confusing and filled with indecision. Change cannot be achieved and wrapped up in a neat little package…. It is instead a messy process often with multiple appendages. The Existential-Humanistic perspective allows me to be real and human with my clients. It is this ability to form an authentic relationship with my clients that brings such joy to work I do!


Portland counselor, counseling

Michael Nagel MA

Why am I here on the EHNW Board? Quite simply it’s an inevitable expression of my life-long passion for the humanistic psychology vision of human potential and the existential vision of freedom, choice, responsibility and authenticity. These values are inherent to my Portland private practice of 16 years as an alternative counseling therapist. As a writer, my articles have been published in popular magazines, scholarly journals, and books. I also have authored two books, How to Be Yourself: A Guide to Authentic Living and ” and Getting Grounded: A Manual of Body Grounding Exercises. An ongoing writing project of mine is the Personal Authenticity Project blog.


Existential Humanist psychotherapist Ray Nelson

Ray Nelson MA, NCC, LPC-Intern



Existential Humanist psychotherapist Liz Ortland

Liz Ortland LMFT Intern

In a world that places so many expectations on how people should be, many people have lost touch with a deep knowledge of who they truly are. I believe that therapy is a space for deepening one’s knowledge and acceptance of the authentic self and developing the courage to embody that self in the world. This is achieved through a genuine caring relationship between therapist and client in which it becomes safe to explore even the most hidden and frightening corners of one’s inner world with another who will not turn away or impose judgments. I operate primarily through the lens of Existential Humanism and the belief that all humans are capable of growth and healing. I strive to uncover this potential through fostering development of self awareness, connection, agency, meaning, and a sense of awe. I aim to help clients listen deeply to themselves to discover stuck patterns, unowned parts of the self, unrecognized or unexpressed needs, struggles with worthiness, and barriers to living authentically.

Existential Humanist psychotherapist Justin Rock

Justin Rock LPC

Within each human being there is the potential for growth. It is my goal to create a safe, holistic, and respectful environment, developing a collaborative relationship between client/therapist that promotes personal growth through support, validation and challenge. I see therapy as a means of gaining insight and a process that creates the potential for individuals and families to live more congruently with who they are. In existential family therapy, the therapist assist the client step back and clarify the meaning of his or her experiences with meaning being created both by the individual and by the group.


Existential Humanist psychotherapist Beth Swain

Beth Swain LPC

I am a licensed professional counselor (LPC) working from an Existential-Humanistic framework. I have been in private practice as a mental health counselor for over fifteen years working mostly with adults with a wide range of emotional and mental health issues. I use a variety of tools to support their healing process, including art expression and EMDR. I have found that having a sense of why we are here on this planet has a tremendous impact on our mental and emotional well being. In counseling, I help my clients discover what blocks them from a sense of meaning in their lives and find ways to live more fully. Some clients are discovering their purpose for the first time while others are discovering a new meaning after facing the loss of their life purpose. I am, also, a certified Archetypal Pattern Analyst which helps me further identify life patterns which may be standing in the way of fully embracing life and living with authenticity.

We’ll add our additional board members as the website continues its development.