Dear Conference Participants,
We can now make some of the lectures, workshop material and Powerpoints from Loutraki available on a new ‘Sharing(s)’ section of the conference website.
Click on the button below:
This includes the full text of the lectures given by Frans Depestele, Mia Leijssen and Campbell Purton, all of which are available in downloadable pdf format.
You will also find amongst the ‘Sharing(s)’ Notes from the General Assembly and updated Feedback from the Interest Groups - and many more photographs.
Other presentations from the conference will be added to the website as soon as they are available.
We would also be pleased if those of you who offered workshops were willing to send in feedback/ a report on your workshop- or, indeed, to offer any other material that you would like to be made available. It would also be great to receive photographs of your session that you would be happy to be added to the website.
Thank you to the presenters for being willing to share your work so generously on the website. We have the beginnings of a wonderful resource…
Nikos & Judy
The First European Focusing Association (EFA) Conference:
Facets of Focusing
May 10th-14th 2018
One hundred and thirty delegates came together in the beautiful coastal resort of Loutraki for what turned out to be a magical- and profoundly nurturing- celebration of the life and work of Eugene Gendlin, including his roots in Europe. Gendlin was a native German speaker, born into a Jewish family in Vienna in 1926 and living there until he was twelve, when he and his parents fled to the US.
The aim of the conference was to consider some of the many ‘facets’ of Focusing. Lectures and workshops ran in parallel throughout the conference (for the conference programme see https://efa2018.weebly.com/programme.html), supplemented by panel discussions and interest groups. There were many engaging and truly original presentations, representing the ‘edges’ of European thinking and research on a variety of Focusing-related topics, honouring Gendlin’s roots in European philosophy as well as his embeddedness in the Person Centred Approach. The relevance of ideas from A Process Model to areas such as medicine and music were explored while other presenters re-considered concepts that are taken for granted in the Focusing world such as the ‘felt sense’. Focusing was considered from the perspective of feminist theory, critical theory and new materialism and consideration was also given to how we might move ‘beyond’ Rogers and Gendlin and build on their legacy. Several participants commented on the quality and depth of European thinking, not only on philosophical topics, but also on issues that relate to our view of the person as we seek to find the ‘living forward’ energy in our lives.
The workshops extended exploration of how Focusing can help us to engage with difficult life situations in such a way as to develop ‘resiliency’, deal with our ‘existential demons’, ‘inner critics’- or perhaps cope better with some of the many ‘stoppages’ created within us as a result of our social interactions. Listening to the body’s wisdom and ‘realising the potential of manifesting different realities’ through working with dreams or recognising the ‘wholeness’ of each moment were other ways in which ‘the self as a living process’ might expand itself. Consciously opening up to greater ‘expansion’ brings us to the ‘edge’ of language- how we might better say that which cannot yet be said- as well as to consideration of how Focusing might be used in group processes and community organising.
Participants commented on how their understanding of Focusing has been ‘refreshed’ by the conference, that familiar material was taken much deeper. The conference was regarded as ‘relaxed’ and, with its relatively small size, participants appreciated being in easy and close contact with each other. One participant commented that it was ‘democratic, a conference without borders’.
The EFA dream
The First EFA Conference may be regarded as bringing closer the fulfilment of a dream held by a group of European coordinators who came together in 2009 to plan a Focusing ‘academy’ where those of us in Europe could ‘cross borders’ and learn from each other, ideally working together in a cooperative and non-hierarchical way. This is not easy to achieve. For centuries there have been wars and conflict in Europe and there remain many challenges. We have to struggle to understand each other on a continent where there are 24 official languages and where, despite English being the most commonly used language between nationalities, the vast majority of us are not native English speakers. Our cultural assumptions, our instinctive ways of relating to each other and dealing with difficult situations are very different. Focusing takes us beyond these differences. As one German participant, who has lived his whole life in the shadow of World War II, said of a very moving interaction with one of the Israeli participants: ‘It’s not just about building one bridge but about building many bridges between nations’.
Interest groups and task groups that came together at the conference will continue to meet via Skype and Zoom links so that collaboration within and beyond Europe can continue.
‘The Heart of Greece’
Many of us went on an inspiring trip to the ancient sites of Mycenae <br>(c. 1600-1100 BC; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycenae) and the healing centre of Epidaurus (c. 300 BC; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidaurus). This is what one participant writes about her particularly meaningful experience of Epidaurus:
“Visiting the ancient Epidaurus area,
(painting: Hillie van der Weg)
‘Each bit of sensing is a version of the whole life situation’.
(Eugene Gendlin, A Process Model, Chapter 8 A)
For many of us the unobtrusive thoughtfulness of the Greek people, including that of the staff at the hotel that hosted the conference, has been an important part of the ‘good energy’ that has ‘held’ the conference. When thanked in passing for the general kindness of the hotel staff, the receptionist on duty simply commented: ‘We want to make people feel at home’. She then added: ‘And it comes from the heart’. It is this quiet nurturance that has made it possible to allow the deep beauty that we have experienced here- through inspiring music and dance as well as from the presentations and workshops and the beautiful natural surroundings- to nourish and sustain us. As someone observed with perfect accuracy when we were wondering who to thank at the closing of the conference: ‘We need to thank Greece’.
At the General Assembly which took place on the final morning of the conference it was unanimously agreed to put any funds remaining from the conference towards developing the EFA website (https://efa-focusing.eu/) and to paying the Webmaster. The very beautiful conference website (https://efa2018.weebly.com/) has played a vital role in building up the ‘atmosphere’ of our coming together. Conference presentations and videos of the lectures will be posted on the EFA website in due course and in the future other papers and publications from European colleagues will appear there, free of charge, for all to access.
It was also decided at the General Assembly that we will aim to hold a European conference every two years, with a smaller gathering in between where the annual General Assembly (proposed in the EFA Vision Statement) can take place.
Dear EFA Member,
Dear participant in the 1st European Focusing Conference,
We will shortly send out a newsletter giving details of the wonderful conference 130 Focusers recently attended at Loutraki in Greece (10-14 May). Soon you will be able to find online some of the conference presentations, including videos of some of the lectures.
But before we do that, we need to ask if you wish to continue to receive mailings from the European Focusing Association (EFA) (either from the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org or from email@example.com)
This is because of changes in European Data Protection Law (General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)) that come into effect on 25th May 2018. This means we need to ask you to opt in to continue to receive mailings by
Here you can find the link to our online Consent Form:
If we do not receive this active consent we will have to assume that you no longer wish to continue to be a part of EFA and will remove your details from our database.
You can also, if you prefer, print out, fill in, and send us signed (either as a scanned document or as a photograph) the consent form document which you may find below.
If you have already signed and given to us the consent form during the conference days in Loutraki, then there is no need to do anything.
We very much hope that you will wish to continue being (or become) a member of EFA and/or look forward to receiving your consent to receive mailings from the European Focusing Association.
Download the Consent Form
You may also use the same Consent Form as it is embedded below.
With our best regards,
Dear EFA Focusing Conference Participant,
It is time to remind you about the transportation information from Athens Airport to the Hotel Pappas, Loutraki. You can also find this information on the ‘venue' webpage of the Conference website (you need to scroll down the webpage to find it).
Here is the link: https://efa2018.weebly.com/venue.html
There you can find (also by scrolling down the webpage) information about taxis from Athens Airport.
One simple route from Athens Airport to the Hotel
Take the suburban train from Athens Airport to Corinthos (or Korinthos or Corinth). The train journey to Corinthos takes 1hour+30minutes. You need to change at Kato Acharnai and take a new train on the Athens-Kiato line that will take you directly to Corinthos.
Then take a taxi from Cornithos station to Loutraki (or Pappas Hotel or Hotel Theoxenia) for a 10 minute ride.
The suburban train leaves from the airport train station, which is a station for both metro and suburban trains. The trains leave from both sides of the same platform. One side is metro and the other is the suburban rail, very clearly signed in Greek and English.
The suburban train leaves several times per hour. Take those trains that leave every hour+09min.
The current timetable (from 1 Feb 2018) shows that they run from 06:09 to 22:09.
The price is 12 euros per person. Αdd another 10-15 euros for a cab from Corinthos train station to Loutraki or to the Hotel.
Ideas for you to group together
One way for you to group together at Athens Airport is to print the attached picture of the flower, the logo of the Conference, and place it somewhere where others can easily see it (e.g. on your bags, on your clothes).
Another way to group together and arrange your travel your own way is via the EFA Facebook page
IF YOU AGREE, you may use the Facebook page to post comments below the transportation post, with your arrival time(s) and your request along with any other necessary information.
Have a nice journey to Greece and Loutraki!
See you there!
(on behalf of the organizing team)
European Focusing Association (EFA)