Pre-Congress WORKSHOPS 26.08.2015

  • Pre-congress workshops (Wednesday 26.08.2015, 09:00-12:00 and 14:00-17:00)
  • Workshopfee for students:40,- Euro, others :70,- Euro
  • All registered congress participants with presentation: free
  • Pre-congress Workshops are included in (3-days) registrationfee.
  • Eachworkshop: 1 ECT research certificationfor SFU students

Workshop 1:
Mindfulness and it’s therapeutic implications and techniques”
Dr. Sayyed Mohsen Fatemi  (Harvard University)
09:00- 12:00

The workshop will initially make a distinction between the Buddhist version of mindfulness and Langerian mindfulness and present the components of both perspectives. The workshop will be followed by a discussion on the therapeutic implications of mindfulness both as a perspective and as a therapeutic approach. The participants will learn the keys to mindful and mindless ways of therapy and will learn the practical strategies to implement mindfulness both as a method and as a perspective in dealing with client’s problems, contexts and needs analysis. The workshop will present examples from case studies to delineate how mindfulness may serve as a tool to develop radical transformation of consciousness both for the therapist and the client.
Workshop Dr.Fatemi (pdf)

Workshop 2:
“Working at theInterface of Science and Religion”
Professor Fraser Watts
09:00- 12:00

This workshop will examine a set of basic issues that arisewhen science and religion are brought into dialogue, such as whether religion andscience are primarily about truth or about practice. Religion often fosters asense of mystery, whereas science usually wants to strip mystery away and‘reduce’ everything to what science can explain (though there is a gulf herebetween physics, which is now more open to mystery, and biology, which often wantsto explain things away). Finally we will look at whether science and religionare necessarily in conflict or whether they can at least co-exist, and whetherthey can move beyond co-existence to learning constructively from each other.

Workshop 3:
 “Taking Stock of the Psychology of Religion”
Professor Fraser Watts

Can religion be studied scientifically, and how much can belearn about religion from that? As an example, we will examine the last 100+years of the psychology of religion, and take stock of what have we learned, and how has it contributed to religion, and to science? This workshop willexamine what we have learned from psychology about religious practice, belief, experience and spirituality; and about how religion varies with development,culture and individual differences. Finally, we will consider the futureprospects for the psychology of religion, and how it can now best develop.

Fraser Watts is Emeritus Reader in Theology and Science in the University of Cambridge, where he was Director of the Psychology and Religion Research Group and a Fellow of Queens’ College. He is a former President of the British Psychological Society and of the International Society for Science and Religion, and former Chair of the British Association of Christians in Psychology. He remains Research Director of the Cambridge Institute for Applied Psychology and Religion, and is a project consultant to ISSR. Recent books include: Spiritual Healing: Scientific and Religious Perspectives (edited, CUP, 2011); God and the Scientist: Exploring the Work of John Polkinghorne (edited with C Knight, Ashgate); Head and Heart: Perspectives from Religion and Psychology (edited with G Dumbreck, Templeton Press, 2013); Evolution, Religion and Cognitive Science: Critical and Constructive Essays (edited with L Turner, OUP, 2014). Email: Website:

Workshop 4:
 “Meaning-of-Life-questions” in daily medical practice”
Dr René de Monchy, Elisabeth Vontobel

Existential questions as to the meaning of one’s life, or why certain encounters or events ‘befall’ a person, are not usually contemplated by most people as long as life is going along relatively smoothly and is embedded in a pattern of regularity and normality. This suddenly changes in times of crisis, illness, loss, catastrophe or impending death of oneself or loved ones, as those shatter all previous sense of normality.
It is often the (medical) doctor who encounters the ensuing deeply existential questions in his or her patients during these events, whether directly verbalized or indirectly manifesting over time in mental / emotional or physical symptoms. “What is happening to me, and why?” are the type of first questions that most of us, as human beings, ponder about in times of crisis and that we, as medical doctors, are frequently faced with in our patients.
How do I deal with those existential issues, within myself, within my profession and within the dialogue with the individual patient? Geographical, social, cultural, scientific and religious backgrounds as well as the degree of self-development in all participants colour the field of these explorations in day to day clinical practice.
This workshop endeavours to explore how this issue is an example of the interface between science, spirituality and religion and how existential questions arise and are faced accordingly in our rapidly changing world.
Will we provide either a bridge or a widening gap in approaching this landscape in our lives?

Dr René de Monchy was born and trained as a medical doctor in the Netherlands with postgraduate training of several years in tropical medicine, surgery and obstetrics as preparation for medical work in Africa. Due to family circumstances he immigrated into New Zealand and worked there for 16 years in general practice, incorporating a holistic approach to medicine, before working for four years in two isolated rural hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa. At age 54 he started specialist psychiatry training and has been working as a psychiatrist in New Zealand and Australia, where he is currently self-employed at the Lawson Clinic for Mood Disorders in Sydney.
Elisabeth Vontobel is a psycho-therapist in full time private practice in New Zealand.She graduated in Education and Eurythmy in Germany and London, after which she trained in Psycho Therapy and worked as a psycho therapist in Germany until emigrating to New Zealand in 1989. Elisabeth has been in full time private practice since that time, initially as the psycho therapist in a medical centre and later independently in her own practice.In addition to her eclectic psychotherapeutic work Elisabeth lectures in New Zealand and Europe.

rene de monchy workshop (pdf)


Pre-Congress WORKSHOPS Registration Form (docx)  (last update 09.07.2015)