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The second seminar on Logotherapy

The second seminar on Logotherapy, conducted by Dr Elisabeth Lukas, took place on June 27 – July 1, 2016 in Moscow. The seminar was facilitated and organized by Svetlana Shtukareva, Moscow Logotherapy Course Leader and Tutor of the Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis, whose deep commitment, passionate enthusiasm and personal involvement made that awaited event possible. (photo)

Those were five intensive days of enriching work and fruitful cooperation, spent in the atmosphere of genuine sincerity and warmth, openness and spiritual revival.

The seminar was held in an interactive format, providing valuable opportunities of getting a supervised practice to logotherapists and psychologists from different spheres of psychological activities.

Over thirty people participated at the seminar and some of them volunteered to present several “real client cases” from their everyday practice. Moreover, participants had a chance to “put themselves in their clients’ shoes”, while acting as clients, in order to get a better view on what kind of help from the standpoint of Logotherapy might be appropriate in this or that case, as well as better understand their clients’ feelings and needs.

Each case presented was deliberately and carefully supervised by Dr Elisabeth Lukas, whose overwhelmed carefulness and patience, along with valuable advice, given at each stage of such a practical exercise, was really precious and amazing.

When it comes to Logotherapy, it is important to mention, that a human personality stands in the middle of the approach and is a reference point for logotherapists’ further actions and intentions. Multiple factors are important and should be taken into consideration when working with a client. Variety of tools and methods allow to identify and investigate those areas, which are unaffected by a problem or a symptom, allowing a client to stay “alive” even under severe life circumstances, not to give up or get down into the “underground of memories”, which may lead to further hyper-reflection.

Even when a person’s “clear space” is locked inside himself, there could be a way out – a way of balancing real life conditions, searching for a better option of “practical application and realization” of one person’s life, which is undoubtedly unique and precious.

In Logotherapy we try to find an opportunity to act consciously and meaningfully in every situation, and very often a suffering person may become “an offer of meaning” to someone else, opening a unique chance to do something meaningful. Oftentimes, thanks to the presence of someone beside – someone who can “inhale a feeling of presence in life” and convey an idea of meaningfulness to a person in need, a single person’s life could be changed dramatically.

We are all interconnected… and we open new meanings in life and meanings of life again and again. Weaker people give an opportunity to stronger ones to “produce kindness”. This thought tends to have a broader meaning, if looked at from the perspective of raising people up to a “more human level”.

“A helpless person is a gift for a human society.” - E.Lukas.

This is what makes us human beings… and humanness of a person is something that makes us live beings… along with faith and heartiness on our way to a more meaningful life and searching for something new that could be brought in and extended through different kind of experience.

As Dr Lukas said, “Life has an absolute and unconditional meaning, and this thought could be conveyed to another person, only if it lives in a speaker’s heart”.

During the seminar, a great amount of time was also devoted to pair and family therapy. Dr Lukas provided an inspiring metaphor, while explaining the core basis of living and cooperating in a family, which involves constant development of individual growth, inner strength, tolerance and maturity. The example was derived from the words of one Israel poet who compared a man and a woman with two columns, which normally stand separately from each other, as “the wind should go freely between them…”. The same approach concerns the development of stable relationships, when each “column” has its own stable basement and stands straight, without leaning on each other, while having one “roof” at the same time.

When we speak about relationships and about love, it is not about looking at a partner through a prism of his or her temper or personal characteristics. Again, it is more about seeing a personality behind actions or behavior he or she demonstrates. It is about nourishing and developing human qualities in ourselves and in each other, about staying connected and being unique individuals at the same time.

“Each person, coming into this world, adds value and there is always something that depends on each of us… So, let’s be human beings – kindhearted and forgiving…” - Dr E. Lukas.

The closure of the seminar was very touching and full of warm feelings and deep recognition. Dr Lukas hugged everybody good-bye and said a few farewell words to each participant. Those people, whose input in the seminar realization was really invaluable - namely Svetlana Shtukareva and our fantastic translators Margarita Matveeva and Anatoly Bataev - were presented with very symbolic presents – pieces of rhinestone from the Alps. As a return gift, Dr Lukas was presented with a shining crystal and a beautiful jewelry box, handed by a group of novice logotherapists. The moment was unforgettable, a lot of words of gratitude were pronounced, warm feelings penetrated into each heart to be carried further and exchanged with others.

Based on the outcome of the first seminar by Dr Elisabeth Lukas in August 2015, there was a book published and three compact disks released in early 2016.

These materials are really valuable and helpful not only for the logotherapists, but also for the psychologies, practicing other methods, as well as for a broader reading audience, as the information compiled there provides insights on the logotherapy practice in the context of philosophic thoughts, examples provided are very live and comprehensive.

Olga Makhova, logotherapist, participant of seminar