Dr Joel Vos PhD MSc MA is a chartered psychologist and philosopher. He works as a Senior Researcher and Senior Lecturer with a research specialty at the Metanoia Institute in London. He is the director of IMEC International Meaning Events and Community. He has published over 160 articles in peer-reviewed journals and books. He is known for his research on meaning in life, systematic literature reviews, meta-analyses, and conceptual models of existential, transactional, and other humanistic psychotherapies. His career started with examining the existential impact of immigration, and how individuals perceive existentially threatening physical diseases, such as cancer, DNA-test results, Cardiovascular Disease, and COVID-19.
After his training in Clinical and Health Psychology at Leiden University, Joel specialised in existential, cognitive-behaviour, and group therapy. He has given therapy to thousands of clients in different mental health care settings, including his private practice. He has developed existential and humanistic treatments which he has tested in clinical trials, and which are now used worldwide. He is specialised in helping clients at turning points in their lives, such as a diagnosis of a physical disease, and offering therapy and coaching to help individuals live a more meaningful and fulfilling life. He has offered consultancy to small, medium and large businesses, such as Unilever and Phillips International, to help their employees experience more meaning in their work; his experiences in business consultancy inspired him to write the book ‘The Economics of Meaning in Life’.
Joel is currently writing his tenth book. In September 2023, Sage has published his go-to book for therapy students and researchers, entitled “Doing research in psychological therapies: a step-by-step guide”. His previous books include for instance “Meaning in life: an evidence-based handbook for practitioners” (Bloomsbury), “Mental health in Crisis” (with Ron Roberts and James Davies, Sage), “The psychology of covid-19” (Sage), and “The economics of meaning in life: from Capitalist Life Syndrome to Meaning-oriented Society” (University Professors Press). He has been a guest editor of several scientific journals, has supervised 90 doctorate students, examined doctorate 100 students, and helped reorganise research programmes at universities.
With the help of his evidence-based research on social justice and social movements, he has trained and consulted politicians and activists and has helped to design social movements. He has for example been nominated by the Council of Europe for the Democracy Innovations Award 2022 (shared), advised democratic activists and politicians during uprisings in several countries such as Myanmar and Sudan, was awarded the title ‘Chief of Peace’ for lobbying for girls to attend schools in Ghana, and was one of the founders of Extinction Rebellion which was named after his existential research. His work was debated several times in the Dutch House of Commons (‘Tweede Kamer’) where the Deputy Prime-Minister Rouvoet described his vision as the cornerstone of the formation of the governmental coalition in 2006 and for the 2006-2010 government policies on immigration and multiculturalism. His book ‘The psychology of COVID-19’ was published early during the pandemic, and both his book and invited consultancy inspired several governments in their policies. His research has been awarded approximately two and a half million GBP in grants and awards.