Donald Robertson

Donald RobertsonDonald is a writer and trainer, with over twenty years’ experience.  He’s a specialist in teaching evidence-based psychological skills, and known as an expert on the relationship between modern cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and and classical Greek and Roman philosophy.

He was born in Irvine, Scotland, and grew up in Ayr.  He worked as a psychotherapist for about twenty years in London, England, where he ran a training school for therapists, before emigrating to Canada in 2013 to focus on his writing and developing new online training courses.

He is an experienced public speaker.  His therapy practice specialised for many years in helping clients with social anxiety and self-confidence issues.  His work, and that of his colleagues, has often featured in the media of different countries, including a recent article on the front cover of the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Donald is also an experienced instructional designer and e-learning consultant.  He has been developing e-learning courses since 2006 when he joined a research team evaluating online CBT training for stress management, on behalf of the UK Dept. for Health (Defra).  He specializes in the design and delivery of online training for psychological skills and personal development.


Donald is the author of six books and many articles on philosophy, psychotherapy, and psychological skills training.  See the publications page for more information, and also Donald’s Google Scholar profile.


Donald was formerly a member of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP), and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).  For many years he ran a successful therapy practice in Harley Street, London.  He also served on the committees of several national therapy organisations.

Donald’s academic qualifications are an MA degree in Mental Philosophy from the University of Aberdeen and an MA in Psychoanalytic Studies from the University of Sheffield’s interdisciplinary Centre for Psychotherapeutic Studies.  His clinical qualifications include an advanced post-graduate diploma in cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) from the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing, King’s College, University of London.  He also holds a UKCP accredited diploma in psychotherapy, as well as many individual certifications in different therapy approaches.


Donald has delivered corporate training on stress management and psychological skills for many different organisations over the years, including Shell, and Southwestern Trains, etc.  He is a frequent speaker at conferences and the organizer of the Toronto 2017 Stoicon conference on Stoic philosophy.  For many years he taught intensive accredited training courses for therapists and counsellors, lecturing eight hours a day for 7-14 days at a time and teaching skills such as relaxation, assertiveness, mindfulness, self-hypnosis, and cognitive therapy


Donald was the psychotherapist member of the Coping with Noise research team, which carried out, and published the results of, several research studies on e-learning based psychological skills training, conducted for the UK Government’s Department of  the Environment (Defra).

Since 2011, he has been part of a multi-disciplinary team of psychologists, therapists, and academic philosophers and classicists responsible for running Stoic Week.  Stoic Week started at the University of Exeter and grew into an annual international event in which thousands of people take part each year.  It involves an online course teaching students how to apply ideas from ancient Stoic philosophy, combined with some techniques from modern psychology.  Each year we gather data on participants and publish the findings from our research.  Donald also runs a more intensive spin-off course online each year, for four weeks at a time, called Stoic Mindfulness and Resilience Training (SMRT).

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  1. Looking forward to the book.
    Have followed the Stoic community for a couple of years now and have applied many of the Stoic practices in to my life.
    The Jedi community has embraced many aspects of Stoicism in its philosophy as of course there are many parallels. I believe Marcus Aurelius was the First Jedi Master.

    Hope you don’t mind the plug on my blog for your book :).

  2. I heard you on BBC today. I found this video of the course you had conducted very interesting.
    Could you collaborate with EDX and Coursera to make your courses available online?
    You would secure a much larger audience worldwide, people who could not physically attend your courses.
    And yes just a point about diversity. Was it that difficult to find a single person of colour to participate in this specific course?
    Thank you

    1. Thanks. Well, the video you’re commenting on wasn’t actually a course, it was a workshop between academics and psychologists who volunteered to be involved with the Modern Stoicism project. So, yes, it would be better if the group were more diverse but that was a small group in the south of England and those just happen to be the people who were doing philosophical or psychological research in this niche area. We hold a conference each year which about 400 people attend and always make an effort to have a more diverse group of speakers at that event, although it’s a challenge with a niche area like this. Our courses for Modern Stoicism are available online via our website and they do reach a fairly large audience. This year, for example, over eight thousand people took part in Stoic Week. Perhaps we could reach a larger audience if we collaborated with another platform, though.

  3. Stoicism, The Art of Happiness has transformed my life in a way I never thought possible.
    Thank you.

  4. Is there another expression for taking the perspective of the View from Above? Something like Becoming Aeon(?)Please advise.

    1. Becoming Aeon might refer to the same concept, or something similar. You might call it the Olympian perspective but the “View from Above” seems to be the term people prefer, following Hadot.

      Donald Robertson