Existential Therapy Congress 2023: Insights & Emmy van Deurzen Interview

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An exclusive interview taken by Max Karlin with renowned Emmy van Deurzen, a leading figure in existential therapy

In this insightful video from the 3rd World Congress held in Athens in May 2023, we dive into a brief review of the event, followed by an exclusive interview taken by Max Karlin with renowned Emmy van Deurzen, a leading figure in existential therapy.

We explore key moments and insights from the 3rd World Congress of Existential Therapy, held in the historic city of Athens. The Congress, an essential gathering for exploring the essence of life and existence, provided a platform for participants to delve into deep philosophical dialogues amidst a backdrop steeped in profound historical heritage. This video is for anyone interested in existential therapy, psychology, or philosophy, offering a snapshot of current thought and future directions in the field.

The city of Athens, rich with the profound depth of history that has shaped the Western civilisation, hosts the 3rd World Congress of Existential Therapy in May 2023, organised by “Gignesthai “, the Hellenic Association for Existential Psychology.

This gathering is an excellent scaffold for us to explore the essence of life, our very existence, in the present moment while acknowledging our deep-seated roots and envisioning the path we are carving into the future.

In the spirit of Heraclitus, who insightfully affirmed that “Everything flows and nothing remains”, we are reminded that just as the river’s water is ceaselessly moving, so are we constantly transforming from one moment to another.
He invites us to see our existence as a river, our biological and social history feeding its source, always present and flowing, carrying us towards a future we shape with our inherent freedom.

Heraclitus also asserts the cyclic nature of existence – the beginning and the end merging in a harmonious circle. Every person has the privilege of embarking on a journey of self-discovery within this continuous ebb and flow of life.

The 3rd World Congress of Existential Therapy is an embodiment of these timeless philosophies, fostering a platform where participants explore life and existence within the framework of the vibrant Athenian backdrop steeped in profound historical heritage.

The Congress offers a plethora of opportunities for exploration and learning. Renowned keynote speakers like Emmy van Deurzen, Alfried Längle, Ernesto Spinelli, Susana Signorelli, Kirk Schneider and Erik Craig, coming from all over the world, lead the discourse.
Individual presentations, round tables, debates, workshops, and poster presentations further enrich the Congress, allowing participants from across the globe to share their experiences, wisdom, and multicultural insights.

During the congress, I had a remarkable opportunity of encountering Professor Emmy van Deurzen, a distinguished figure in existential therapy. With a background in philosophy, psychology, and psychotherapy, Professor van Deurzen has been a guiding force in existential therapy since the early 70s.

An exclusive interview taken by Max Karlin with renowned Emmy van Deurzen, a leading figure in existential therapy

Born in the Netherlands, her journey began in France and progressed in the United Kingdom. From there, her influence has reached out across the globe as she has taught and lectured on existential therapy.

Van Deurzen’s approach is unique, combining various philosophical insights to help clients grapple with a fundamental existential question: “How can I live a better life?” She believes life is an ongoing challenge where moments of calm and happiness are exceptions rather than the norm, and difficulties arise when people resist facing the realities of their complex existences.

Emmy is not just a practitioner and teacher. As an emeritus professor at five universities, she’s the author of 17 books and numerous articles and papers, with her works having been translated into multiple languages. She’s made significant contributions to the field with well-known books like ‘Everyday Mysteries’, ‘Paradox and Passion in Psychotherapy’, and ‘Existential Counselling and Psychotherapy in Practice’.

She’s also made her mark as the founder of the Society for Existential Analysis and two leading institutions: the School of Psychology and Psychotherapy at Regent’s, and the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling at the Existential Academy in London, where she currently serves as Principal.

For me, as a trainee at her school, it’s an incredible opportunity to be able to engage with her and ask Emmy a few questions today. This is a conversation I’m thrilled to share with you all.

Max Karlin

Practising psychologist with a diverse professional background and a trainee therapist at the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC – Existential Academy) and Middlesex University, London. Max brings a rich tapestry of experience from his diverse professional journey, spanning over two decades in commerce and business. In addition to the private practice, he consults leaders and specialists across various industries and countries, ranging from small start-ups to large organisations. Max is passionate about researching how psychotherapy can contribute to social change and foster a better world. Founder and co-editor of the Journal of Integrative Psychotherapy and Systemic Analysis.

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