Dr Niklas Serning






I draw from my training, practice and research in psychotherapy, but also very different paths of my life such as my work in conflict affected areas as well as Buddhist and transpersonal practices. I spend part of my working week with the British Army as a specialist and psychologist. I have completed officer training at Sandhurst and hold the rank of Captain.

My first career was in the United Nations, I spent several years in different warzones like Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Eritrea and Timor L’Este leading educational, CIMIC and SRHR projects. The intense focus of this work, the relentless and immediate consequences of one’s actions in it taught me grounding and efficiency.

My first degrees in psychology were in Sweden two decades ago; they focused on children, CBT and psychodynamic modalities. A decade later at NSPC London, I became the first doctor of existential psychotherapy and counselling psychology in the UK, as I presented my dissertation on how humanitarians returning from warzones suffered more from alienation than any form of PTSD, as previous research had assumed.

I then worked with OTR Bristol – Bristol’s main young people’s mental health charity – overseeing a substantial service transformation as their Clinical Director. I led a radical transformation of our ethos from being service led to being user led, so that we went from being a counselling only service to having an array of innovative ways to engage. We saw an increase in the service by several orders of magnitude and were awarded the King’s Fund GSK Impact Award. My main work with young people these days is as consultant psychologist and lead supervisor for Empire Fighting Chance' Boxing Therapy initiative which I helped set up with Cat Taylor.

As a counterpoint to my UN work is the Buddhism, the yoga and the shamanic work. I spent a year in Sri Lanka at a Buddhist monastery whilst teaching Buddhist psychology at Peradeniya University, I am a qualified Vinyasa yoga teacher, and took part in Ian Reese’s brilliant and absolutely bonkers shamanic Awen training. I also did two years of Karuna Institute’s excellent and infuriating Buddhist psychotherapy training, where I ended up setting the chimney on fire.


Serning, N. (2011). International aid workers' experience of support: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. London: Middlesex University. Available from https://repository.mdx.ac.uk/item/836y1

Serning, N. (2012). 'Towards the cybernetic mind.' Existential Analysis. 23(1), 11-18

Serning, N, Lyon, N. (2016). 'Nietzschean modes of gender construction in a post-feminist age.' Self & Society. 44:3, 204-214. Link

Serning, N. (2019). 'Psychotherapies and Psychoactives of Submission and Engagement.' in Breaking Convention IV: Psychedelicacies. Strange Attractor Press, 2019. Link

Serning, N. (2019). ‘Time to let go? The difficulties of simple conclusions from attachment theory’. Research Ed. https://researched.org.uk/2019/06/24/time-to-let-go-the-difficulties-of-simple-conclusions-from-attachment-theory/

Serning, N, Lyon, N. (2020).'The psychotherapeutic use of psychedelics. Reflections, critique and recommendations.' in Re-visioning Existential Therapy. London: Routledge. Link

Serning, N. (2024). 'Trauma - the search for a poisoned chalice?' in Psychological growth following trauma: Insights from phenomenological research. ed. Wharne, S. London: Routledge. [Chapter In Press]. Link


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