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EXISTENTIAL ANALYSIS CANADA
FALL 2016 NEWSLETTER

 

Update from the Existential Analysis Canada Board

 

October 6, 2016


Dear EA Canada Members and Friends,
 
I hope that this newsletter of 2016 finds you well.  As I write these lines, I am sitting in a comfortable coffee shop, looking out onto the grey world of a BC West Coast fall and enjoying the turning of the leaves and a cooling of the temperatures.  I am reminded about the existential reality that all of life is in a dynamic flow, and that seasons and trees and people change, even though we at times wish to brace ourselves against this inevitability.  At this point, I feel in harmony with this flow and can say ‘yes’ to it inwardly – this is certainly not always the case.
 
I am pleased to bring you a brief update on the Existential Analysis Society of Canada at this time of change.  We were grateful to host Dr. Alfried Längle again in Vancouver, in September.  Dr. Längle gave a free public lecture on the topic of aggression at St. Paul’s Hospital.  Many people responded to the invitation to join us for this evening.  We were particularly pleased to be able to welcome Dr. Silvia Längle (Alfried Längle’s wife) for this event.  Some of you may not know, but Dr. Silvia Längle is also a trained psychotherapist who works in private practice in Vienna.  Additionally, she serves as the editor for the journal Existenzanalyse – the official journal of the Society for Logotherapy and Existential Analysis (http://www.existenzanalyse.net/Home.2138.0.html?&L=1).  This journal, which normally publishes in German, and occasionally publishes English articles.  Additionally, all article abstracts are translated into English and published alongside the German articles.  If you are interested, I encourage you to browse the above listed site to get a sense of what is happening in this area of our larger society. 
 
With respect to the ongoing workings of our EA Canada Society, I am pleased to be able to report that training groups are continuing to move ahead.  Cohorts 3 and 4 are moving through their first two years of training and will likely be launching into the clinical training portion in short order.  The ongoing training needs have necessitated that increased focus (both financially and in terms of human resources) be paid to the translation of training materials from German into English.  We are grateful for multi-lingual trainers, such as Mihaela Launeanu and Karin Steichele (trainers for cohort 3), who are able to use German and Romanian version to supplement what has been translated into English.  At present, the EA Canada Society is collaborating intensively with several translators in Vienna to finish the translations of the training manuals for the basic training.  We are grateful in this area for the financial and practical assistance of Dr. Alfried Längle and the International Society for Logotherapy and Existential Analysis.  We anticipate that a complete translation of the basic training manuals will be complete by the summer of 2017.  This is no small feat, as the training manuals amount to approximately 600 single spaced pages.  Future trainers and training cohorts will be able to benefit from these efforts.  In that vein it is worth mentioning that Rochelle Chapman is continuing to explore the possibilities of offering EA training in Alberta, and has recently offered the first introductory workshop in Calgary.  If anyone is interested in participating in a training cohort there, please contact Rochelle at counselling@rochellechapman.com.
 
As you may remember from the last newsletter, we are looking forward to an upcoming AGM and to some transitions on the board.  We have bid farewell to Sara Klinkhamer, who served on the board for several years on the finance committee.  We are presently in the process of filling this important position on the board, and hope to update you in the near future about this process.  As we look ahead to the AGM, which will likely be held in January, 2017 (watch for an announcement in the coming months!), I am pleased to say that all current board members have agreed to extend their terms.  We are, however, continuing to look for assistance, either in the form of board members or in other capacities (e.g., serving on a project or committee).  So, if you are interested in helping out with the EA Canada Society, then we would love to talk with you.  We are particularly looking for people to assist with publications/writing about EA and liaising with local counselling associations and organizations.  If you are interested in such an opportunity,  please drop me a line and I would be happy to chat with you about the position (derrick.klaassen@icloud.com).
 
Thank you for your continued support for your society.  I hope that you will consider joining us for the AGM in January.  The date and location will be announced shortly, but I anticipate that it will be held in a central location in Vancouver.


 
Warmly,
 
Derrick Klaassen, Ph.D., R.Psych.
Chair of the Board
 

An Existential Understanding of Aggression

On his recent visit to Vancouver, BC, Dr. Alfried Längle presented a seminar on An Existential Understanding of Aggression.
For those who missed the talk, a video recording is available on YouTube (https://youtu.be/EMdO8IzW4ZE)
 
 

Existential Analysis Canada Explores Alberta

At the end of September, EA Canada held our first ever seminar in Alberta! It was a 3 day introduction to EA  and we had a wonderful group of participants who were very actively engaged in dialoguing about the themes of inner consent, fulfillment in life, and motivation. There seems to be some interest in longer term training in Alberta so we will offer another intro seminar in the next few months and see where that can lead.

If you are interested in participating in, or finding out more about, EA in Alberta, please contact Rochelle Chapman (counselling@rochellechapman.com).


 
 

Upcoming Training

 

JOIN COHORT 5 - come to the INTRO to EXISTENTIAL ANALYSIS

 
This two-day seminar is ideal for individuals looking for...
 
- Professional Development geared towards Existential Psychotherapy and/or
 
- A Gateway to the Official Training Program to become an Existential Counsellor/Analyst under the EA Society of Canada - Affiliate of GLE International

- Topics explored in the Intro. are: Existential Analysis as psychotherapy, living with inner consent, and the structural model of Existential Analyalis or the 'Grammar of Existence'.
 
What: Intro. to Existential Analysis
When: November 19 & 20
Cost: $240 (Professionals)/$160 (Students)
Contact: Kari-Ann Thor (kalthors@mac.com) or 604-253-5450

 

Existential Analysis Books


Existential Analysts Silvia Längle and Christopher Wurm have recently edited a book entitled LIVING YOUR OWN LIFE - Existential Analysis in Action, published in English. Copies are available from from EA Canada. Please contact Xavier Williams (xwilliams@my.adler.edu) to purchase a copy.

What: English Version of LIVING YOUR OWN LIFE edited by Silvia Längle and Christopher Wurm
Cost: $35 + P&P
Who: Xavier Williams (xwilliams@my.adler.edu)

 

Authentic Living Workshops


Available workshops for personal and professional development covering 10 Themes: Inner Consent, Being in the World, Finding our Place, Trust, Likes and Dislikes, Grief, Boundaries, Self-Worth, Will, and Meaning.

When: Saturdays or Sundays
Time: 10:30am-4:30pm
Cost: $70 (students pay $60)

 For more Information, contact: Käri-Ann 604-253-5450 or kalthors@mac.com
 

Featured EA Article

 

 

Happiness and Nostalgia

Dr. Janelle Kwee, PhD, RPsych

In Existential Analysis, we consider the conditions for a fulfilled life.  In other words, our aim is to help people find a way of living that gives inner consent to their actions.  Even happiness and the feeling of life satisfaction require one’s personal agreement or consent.  We often work hard to achieve specific goals in our lives, but we do not automatically feel happy by achieving them; conversely, we sometimes find ourselves feeling subjectively fulfilled – the feeling of having a “good life” – even when our situations don’t match our more idealistic plans.  Resear,ch on societal indicators of wellbeing suggests that, in spite of people achieving material lifestyle goals, happiness is not influenced much by income and is complexly related to GDP, economic well-being, and living conditions.  It appears that more people could be happier than they realize, and others who don’t seem like they should be happy are.   What is their secret?

If you were to ask me what makes my life “good,” the first thing I would say is my family, especially my children.  The privilege of having meaningful work that I have chosen, and for which I have trained,< comes to mind next.  For me, there is nothing as rewarding as the humble privilege of nurturing another human being or feeling like the work of teaching and healing that I do as a psychologist. This is what I was born for and it gives me an outlet for being me in a meaningful way in this world.  In those moments that I can find an awareness and appreciation to savour this beauty of being alive and connected, I feel grateful wonder, and humble astonishment at the poetry of the ins and outs of existence.  The messiness of being woken up in the middle of the night because I am needed, of being talked back to by a child trying out his independence, of sitting with a trauma survivor in therapy, or of slowly marking piles of exams and term papers over my holiday, can all be at the center of my sense of fulfillment.  However, I mention these two areas of my life because it is in these realms of family and work that I also face the most common daily challenges and obstacles to feeling happiness.  In the daily grind I sometimes find myself being the parent I never wanted to be, chasing and nagging after my kids to pick up their rooms, to put on their shoes so that we’re not late to wherever we’re going, or to get to sleep (with me feeling inwardly impatient to have a break from parenting). In my work, I sometimes furiously respond to e-mails and deal with meetings and interruptions, almost seeing them as “necessary evils” so that I can get to whatever “important” things I had set out to do, all the while missing the opportunity to say “yes” to the unexpectedly bumpy journey that makes up real life and work.    

A famous quote attributed to Mark Twain says, “A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”  What allows us to feel truly fulfilled, happy, or comfortable?  Could it be that many people have the chance to be happy but don’t give their consent or approval to feel it?  In Existential Analysis, fulfillment is based in reality, the givens of our existence, based in the present, not the past or the future.  Have you ever looked back at pictures of your kids growing up, or maybe of your own childhood, or reminisced about shared memories with friends or family, and gotten a feeling of nostalgia?  Maybe you review these scenes from your own life with a sense of wistfulness, melancholy, or longing to re-live those times.  If you experience this, you are most definitely not alone.  In fact, people often remember with fondness over times that they didn’t really enjoy when they were happening.  This inability to enjoy the present, even when the moment is retrospectively deemed worthy of fondness, is an interesting, common, and I would say lamentable phenomenon.  Looking at this phenomenon closely also reveals a key to experiencing fulfillment in the day-to-day moments of our lives. 

Happiness, or fulfillment, must happen in our present, given circumstances, and is not contrary to suffering.  In contrast to simplistic – yet common – fairy-tale views of happiness, suffering is not at odds with real life fulfillment.  If true happiness is to occur, it will invariably take place in the context of joy and sorrow.  Nostalgia, on the other hand, encompasses a longing for paradise free of suffering.  Sometimes the photos or mementos that trigger feelings of nostalgia connect us to an idea of the moment without reminding us of the difficulties and irritations that distracted us from enjoying it.  We see our child’s, wide, sweet eyes smiling in a baby picture and forget the turmoil, fear, feelings of inadequacy, and sleepless nights from those days or months of not knowing how to soothe her colicky screams.  The tension of a relationship rife with sibling rivalry or of living with an abusive parent is not captured in a posed family photo from childhood.  And, pictures of an exotic or adventurous vacation don’t capture the feelings of disorientation from not speaking the language, being ill with food poisoning, or simply experiencing the numbing fatigue of jet lag.

True to the wisdom in Twain’s famous quote, the key to experiencing comfort or fulfillment in the everyday moments lies in our own approval, or inner consent.  Yes, we must agree to be happy!  It cannot happen passively without personal approval to experience the present as it is. Someone so deeply in the habit of being irritable or impatient, distracted or out-of-tune, will find it impossible to be present in the moment, to be aware of the little joys and wonders, and to affirm “yes” to being there.  This “yes” has to be in real time, letting go of past and future focus.  And, this consent to happiness or fulfillment requires engagement and dedication.  We must open our eyes to what is really there in the present situation and actively decide to say “yes” to entering into it, to allow ourselves to be aware of those things that bring joy, and to feel the sorrows that also correspond to the present.  Life is only meaningful with our active and personal dedication to it, our consent to engagement in the moment.  In this active engagement, we have the capacity to feel a sense of astonishment, and wonder. 

If you are among the many people who often remember things from the past with a nostalgic longing, and can’t wait for a present burden or distraction to be lifted to grasp at freedom in the future, I leave you with an invitation to look closely at your life right now, in the present.  It – the NOW – is the only real opportunity that you have guaranteed.  It takes time and dedication to put this into practice.  Ask yourself, what is there?  What is good, what is meaningful, and even what is difficult?  Can you let yourself appreciate the little miracles and moments of beauty of you being alive, in this moment? Can you say “yes” to the happiness afforded today?

References: Bergheim, S. (2006). Measures of wellbeing: There is more to it than GDP.  Global Growth Centres Current Issues.  Deutsch Bank Research: Frankfurt, Germany. Downloaded from www.dbresearch.com  

 

About the Author

Dr. Janelle Kwee is a Registered Psychologist in private practice and Associate Professor of Counselling Psychology at Trinity Western University.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Existential Analysis Society of Canada and regularly presents and writes about EA-related topics.  Janelle enjoys traveling, hiking, and spending time with her family.
 

Would you like to write an article for the EA Newsletter? We are looking for articles to include in our winter edition.


Here are some ideas that may prompt your creativity: How do you incorporate EA into your private practice? What brought you to EA?

If you are interested, please email Xavier Williams (xwilliams@my.adler.edu).
Submission deadlines: January 22, 2017.
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