What are the most significant features of meaning-centred practices from today’s workshop and or your personal experiences?

30th of June 2017

Hurried* but meaningful summary of the replies given by the panel.


Joining forces in practice and research. To all that are here today, we all  have different models, opinions and backgrounds, and although we relate to the theme of meaning in different ways and contexts, we are today unite to talk about us as human beings and about our relationship to meaning.


Alfried Langle – It was moving to see participants self-reflect and connecting with their lives. In particular it was moving to see how the participants were taking the content of the workshop and really looking at how it could have connected with their own lives. I have clearly felt from the participants today that finding meaning is an intriguing topic and not worrying one. Today during the practice at “finding meaning” there was a feeling of connectedness between people that was moving for me.

Emmy VanDeurzen – Emmy was said she was impressed by the way participants were speaking up and exposing personal narrative  to others in the group. We talked about meaning and values and we talked about the “layers” of meaning in the dimension of life experience: physical, social, psychological and spiritual dimension. We talked about the crucial importance of relating to others and the worlds. We have looked at the contradiction and paradoxes that present themselves continuously in our lives. We have looked at the importance of listening to our emotions because those they give us  clues about what we want to pursue and things we want instead to avoid.

Mick Cooper – Goals and purposes. We observed what it means to have purposes and then how goals can be used in different practices and not only those in particular theoretical model. We have spoken about “directionality” and we try and articulate this idea as “humans moving toward where we want to go” and so direction as a being a sense of movement itself. We talked about the importance of actualizing our purposes via finding our directions in ways where emotion and embodiment are central. Goals – and the careful process involved in way we set them with the client noticing the “deep current” that is elicited in this process between us and the client.

Michael Steger – Meaningful work – how to make abstract concept workable in the “real” world – where we live and work. Work is meaning to you. Post it notes are in a sense the exemplary case of the importance of Process.  Post-it note was a failed product that then was transformed by the use that others made of it, by the process of others. Meaning isn’t a thing that you get, it is more a process and we cannot do that alone (by ourselves). We have language though, which is the way we talk about (express)  meaning, but it is again a process, in a sense we are making something as we go.

Edith Steffen – meaning reconstruction therapy. We have talked today about how meaning is actually created in emotional experiences and embodiement. We have discussed the rituals and their important role in the relationship with our lives and we saw how rituals can carry meaning without requiring an intellectualisation. We have discussed the examples of sharing  objects and food related to the deceased with the group, so that these would allow the participants to connect with each others via the narratives that are thereby emerging.

Joel Vos – meaning centred therapy for chronically ill patients. If we are struck by a chronic illness the way we see life has inevitably changed,  or feeling of being in control and being invincible are lost. It is like losing a We are not in the flow of life anymore. Reconnecting with available sources of meaning in life by connecting with others, and that which is still available. Being able to hold the paradox imposed by our embodied experiences, emotions and narratives.


*Disclaimer from Diego (typing this)- these notes are not precise, I have taken them while listening and relating to what was being said. For this reason they will be inevitably influenced by they way I made sense of them.