Relational depth: An experiential exploration (workshop)
This workshop will be an opportunity to explore the lived-experience of relational depth: both in therapy and in everyday life. Participants will have an opportunity to examine their own experiences of relational depth, the personal factors that may make it more challenging for them to connect deeply with their clients, and the use of embodied empathy in relating deeply to clients. The workshop builds on the keynote lecture on relational depth. By the end of it, participants will have developed their understanding of what it means to relate deeply at a personal, embodied level.
Progress and stagnation in psychotherapy: sharing precious moments of change and disappointing standstills and interruptions (workshop)
I want to invite the participants to explore both positive and negative phenomena in the psychotherapeutic process. To balance out onesidedness and to learn also from failures I especially encourage the group members not only to share successes but also flops. In our exchange we will reflect upon these from a relational, experiential and existential perspective.
The Magic of Encounter – Moments of Movement from the Perspective of Neuroscience (lecture)
In recent years neurosciences have made tremendous progress in research of the human nervous system. Thereby, impressive capacities of the brain to connect humans with other humans were revealed. It was also sufficiently empirically demonstrated that person-centered relationships provide a growth-promoting interpersonal climate not only in psychotherapy but also in other contexts. Security, trust, interpersonal synchrony, affect labeling and dialogical exploration of experience have a profound influence on the vegetative nervous system, neurochemicals like Oxytocin, neural coupling, emotion regulating neural structures, and the interhemispheric information transfer. In the lecture it will be outlined how person-centered relationships may unfold their constructive power at a neurobiological level and how neurobiological processes might be involved in moments of movement.
Exhausted heroes: Emotion-Focused Therapy with survivors of sexual abuse (lecture)
In this lecture I will talk about how I work with male survivors of sexual abuse from the perspective of Emotion-Focused Trauma Therapy. Emotion-Focused Trauma Therapy was developed by Paivio & Pascual-Leone (2010) at the York University of Toronto, Canada. It is an empirically verified model that describes the different phases and steps that are needed to integrate trauma experiences from the past. In addition to explaining the treatment model, I will discuss case material, especially the specifics of the work I do with male survivors of sexual abuse.
The mystery of change. About frozen wholes, stopped processes, moments of movement - and the importance of not knowing (lecture)
I want to begin with our own experiences of change. How do we remember the "carrying forward" of something important in our lives? Each change process is highly individual and lives forward in its specific situation – but could we find out something general from this - a typical overall "quality", which for us is the "nature" of these changes? I then will briefly touch on the well-known theories, where Rogers and Gendlin found words to frame their experiences of change processes at that time. I want to look with fresh eyes at these ideas and question them in the light of current thinking about our approach, emphasizing a relational understanding. But I also want to hold theories lightly – in the end change demands from all of us a deep commitment and responsiveness, a capacity to dwell in the unknown, a willingness to fall into a "moment of meeting" together.
From dependency to presence – experiential approach in psychotherapy of addicted persons (lecture)
Regulating emotional pain with the use of drugs (or behaviors) helps to adapt and at the same time precludes access to primary emotions and their adequate symbolization. Using drugs most often influences an individual’s current relationships and identity in a way that deepens the feelings of emptiness and existential suffering. During the lecture I will present a process of psychotherapy of a person addicted to psychoactive drugs and alcohol. I will give examples of experiential techniques used while working on current and past experiences. I will present moments of change in a process of integration and regaining the ability to relate to another person. In the context of the advances in neuroscience I will point out the goals and potentials of experiential therapy of addicted persons.
Facing your existential demons: Experiential workshop on focusing from your safe place (workshop)
In this workshop we want to help you to make contact with a bodily felt safe place. From here on you can go back and forth in the direction of your existential demons (like the fear of being abandoned and really be on our own, the undefined darkness that comes along sometimes, the inevitable losses we had and that we will have, the horrible awareness that our life will stop at some point, the feeling of total senselessness that can overwhelm us, the universe that is watching indifferently when our life falls apart…). Mostly, we prefer not to go into these difficult feelings and convictions. But at some point in our life, maybe we have to face them. We look for safe ways to contact your existential givens in order to have a non-threatening dialogue with them. In this interaction we give a lot of attention to appropriate self-care.
Laboratory of experience and reflecting (workshop)
During the workshop we propose several exercises based on phenomenological description of human experience. We want to trace the moments of changes and breakthroughs in the experience based on mutual interactions and reflections. Can we identify triggers? What makes our perspective more complete and broader? Can we examine this process more carefully and more closely? The participant will learn how the concepts and categories present in phenomenology, neurocognitive science and anthropology of experience translate into therapeutic practice.
River of life – the actualization tendency in a moment of movement (workshop)
We offer you a shared reflection on the function of the actualization tendency in a moment of change. We will present our thoughts on the moving spirit in a process of change which are derived from our analysis of C. Rogers’s idea of the actualization tendency and E. Gendlin’s idea of carrying forward. The form of workshop will enable us to deepen the experience of change and to share insights resulting from the on-going course of processing this experience.
Therapeutic process and social change – practices, opportunities, restrictions (lecture)
How and in what way can individual changes, often stimulated by a therapeutic process, be translated into social change? How can regaining autonomy and sense of personal power initiate transformation at the political level? This presentation is an attempt to define the place of psychotherapy and therapeutic culture in the context of social and political transformations. We will examine one of the historical examples of an initiative combining personal and social change, namely the Consciousness Raising movement accompanying the the second wave of American feminism and inspired by Rogerian encounter groups.
Delayed impulse reaction in the unconditional acceptance atmosphere (lecture)
There is no one-word notion illustrating events opposite to trauma. Words like: euphoria, ecstasy, excitation used by patients while describing their experiences of using drugs or performing addictive behaviors are not as intense as the word ‘trauma’. I will present therapeutic work with people addicted to gambling. This work is focused on the experience of pleasure while gambling. What my clients describe could be most accurately defined as a ‘traumatic pleasure’. Working with this experience resembles working with trauma or a ‘puzzling experience’ according to Rice. Experiential examining pleasant mental states evoked by using a drug or performing an addictive behavior results in desensitization to the stimulus associated with this pleasure. Consequently there is a change towards adaptive coping with the so called ‘craving’ or ‘relapse’. I will share my conclusions and reflections on the experiential work with addicted persons.
Processing emotional pain using the expanded Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) task of Focusing (workshop)
Harte (2012) proposed an expanded version of Focusing to include the reprocessing of painful or traumatic events which was found in clinical practice to successfully process these events. More recently, Harte (2017) used the discovery phase of task analysis to refine the proposed model and develop a method for bringing previously suppressed or incomplete memories of painful/traumatic events back into awareness so they can be successfully processed and integrated. This 90-minute-workshop is experiential and will provide participants with knowledge and theoretical understanding of EFT for trauma and how to use the extended focusing task.
Supervision using Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) “in mode” (workshop)
Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) is an integrative, evidenced-based, manualised, experiential therapy that emphasises the quality of the client-therapist relationship and offers efficient interventions/tasks to assist clients to deal with emotional experience in the present moment. The EFT approach employs a series of client markers as indicators of client readiness that directs the therapist in choice of effective process interventions/tasks. An extension of the more standard approach to supervision has seen the development of EFT supervision “in-mode” by using the method’s markers, that is parallel to the EFT process. This workshop offers experiential opportunities to engage in EFT supervision “in mode.”
From behavior to experience. Looking for moments of change in group trauma therapy based on symbolic assertiveness method (lecture)
Symbolic assertiveness is a method of trauma therapy applied mostly in group setting. It uses drama, gestalt experiment and working on behavior. Therapeutic work is focused on looking for empowering experiences in situations of past trauma that are enacted in drama. Usually the changes experienced by clients are very clear and encompass not only emotions, but also behavior.
Process or/and activity: the moments of change in coexperiencing psychotherapy (lecture)
In our lecture we will talk about person and experiencing. The experiencing is conceptualized as a process, mostly immediate and involuntary, which the person symbolizes and comprehends. But not an experience is experiencing, but a person. What is the role of the person in relation to experiencing? Receiver? Witness? Victim? Or the author? We will introduce the coexperiencing psychotherapy approach - an original Russian experiential approach created on the basis of the scientific traditions of cultural activity psychology of Leo Vygotsky, Alexey Leontyev, Alexander Luria, etc. An approach creator, Fyodor Vasilyuk, described it as the result of engrafting Rogerian principles to the cultural activity theory of experiencing and defined it as person-experiential therapy.
Acknowledging Climate Angst in the Therapeutic Setting (lecture)
As global temperature and sea levels continue to rise, modern psychotherapists are faced with an increased number of patients with climate angst. Based on my own research, I will present how perceived existential threat effect psychotherapeutic patients' experience of being-in-the world and propose an outline for how to transform climate angst into climate action. During this talk, I want to invite the audience to reflect on their role as practitioners in relation to climate change.
Environmental concerns and climate anxiety - emerging themes for psychotherapy (lecture)
In this paper, I present the results of a qualitative study on persons, who are high in environmental concern and engage actively to prevent the worst consequences of global warming. However, lots of them suffer from permanent stress, future anxiety and have symptoms similar to those observed in PTSD. I propose that the theme of environmental concern and climate change is emerging as a vital issue and is going to be a common theme in psychotherapy in the future. Psychologists and psychotherapists need to prepare for it.
Moments of Movement: Therapy through Social Changes, Ukrainian Experience (lecture)
With this presentation we would like to introduce our PCA family: to present our history and how we work as a training institution, to show some theoretical and practical issues, including special programs. Also the aim of this presentation is to share how PCA answers the social and political challenges in our country now, how the relationships created in the frame of therapy influence the social changes and our experience in it.
A new awakening? Moments of movement and change in non-Person Centered therapists participating in Encounter Groups' continuous sessions (lecture)
What 'moves' within, when therapists experience the core conditions? What changes do they undergo when they take part in continued Encounter Groups sessions? How is their personal perception affected? And what about their own professional perception? Does it change after undergoing this experience? Is their way of being therapists transformed? If so, how? In this lecture, I will share with you some experiences, perceptions, discoveries and curiosities present in our ongoing study. We will discuss if and how the personal moments of change that occur throughout a therapeutic group process are translated into transformation in the individuals' professional selves and spirit, and how a quite brief experiencing of person-centered qualities and attitudes influences a therapist's way of being.
Tracking the existential roots of personhood in Carl Rogers' theory: Resolving conceptual distortions and restoring internal consistency of person-centred formulations (lecture)
More than fifty years after Carl Rogers first presented the elements of person-centred therapy there prevails a distortion of many of his concepts such as actualising tendency, incongruence/congruence, and non-directivity. I propose that this distortion results from a fundamental error in interpreting the term ‘person’. Drawing upon the ancient Greek category of ‘kinesis’, meaning ‘innate transformative movement’, I will investigate Rogers’ implicit meaning of ‘personhood'. I will evaluate Rogers’ notion of ‘becoming a person’ in light of Kierkegaard’s existential philosophy of ‘repetition as a task of freedom to overcome despair’. Distortions of person-centred formulations are remedied and internal consistency of theory restored once the primary principle of personhood is established: A person does not exist as a thing with thing-like properties that are measurable and predictable. Radical implications for practice, training, and research will be outlined in conclusion.
RESTORATION OF CHOICE. Paradoxical theory of change and existentialist philosophy as determinants of the therapist’s attitude in the process of restoration of freedom in Gestalt therapy (workshop)
According to Robert Resnick (a long-time student and colleague of Fritz Perls) - The only one goal in gestalt psychotherapy is restoration of choice. This workshop will be an occasion to integrate chosen theories (paradoxical theory of change, existentialist philosophy, phenomenology) that underlie Gestalt therapy originated in the USA. The workshop will create space for reflecting upon the meaning of the therapist’s attitude in the clients’ process of restoration of choice. A video presenting a therapeutic session conducted in 2015 by Robert Resnick, as well as personal experiences of the participants of the workshop will serve as an illustration of the process of restoration of choice and an inspiration for further discussion.
Transformative power of anger: From hopelessness to hope – from powerlessness to personal power (workshop)
During this workshop I would like to invite you to take a close look at those moments of change in our inner experiential world that originate from anger.
Professionally I accompany people in different experiences, but what I experience in my office is that there is a specific kind of anger that carries a particular meaning and has a unique quality.
Apart from theoretical considerations, I would like to disclose my personal experience with anger – from a perspective of a human, and a therapist who helps clients build a good alliance with anger and its transformative potential.
Anger is our natural response to the violation of our boundaries or frustration of our needs; it provides us with the energy to act, change the situation, protect… and something else. What is it and how does it work?
In experiential spirit and in empathic dialogue we will attempt to answer the question:
- Anger – what kind of carrying forward it creates in key moments in our lives?
Moments of movement in refugee work. Deep understanding, Cultural sensitivity, Confrontation with unsecure life (lecture)
This presentation will demonstrate three areas of understanding and work in psychotherapeutic work with refugees. The three areas seem crucial for initiating therapeutic moments of movement in persons from different countries who are at different stages of asylum seeking process. Working with people trapped between the traumatic experiences, the present situation, and status of refugees in the receiving country, the therapist must leave the traditional way. Three examples will be given and discussed.
Silent Qigong and Person Centered Therapy (workshop)
The workshop will offer the possibility to learn about a Taoist understanding of Qigong, called Silent Qigong and the mindset of it. We will detect possible correspondence between the Person Centered Approach and Silent Qigong. We will explore the idea of using the Qigong practice by the Therapist as well as the Client in order to improve their therapy process and health.
Performing deliberate practice in the spirit of person-centered and experiential approaches (based on Co-experiencing psychotherapy practice) (lecture)
The research in effectiveness of psychotherapy has marched into a methodological dead-end. An elegant evidence-based solution can be found in the research done by S. Miller (deliberate practice). Seems that Carl Rogers and Eugene Gendlin became the effective therapists they were not because of their technique and experience, but mostly by thoroughly studying transcripts and reflecting upon their own practice. Participants are invited to discuss and share ways which already help them in performing deliberate practice, and to take away new suggestions developed in Co-experiencing psychotherapy by professor Fyodor Vasilyuk.