22 September (Thursday) Workshops I. 13:30-15:30
1. Father Arnaldo Pangrazzi (Italy): Mirror God’s mercy to people in bereavement
The loss of a loved one is a painful experience that inevitably touches one’s personal and pastoral life. We are going through a time marked by many losses due to covid-19, war, accidents, different health problems, suicide and so on. The pain not addressed turns into psychosomatic illnesses, mental health problems, social isolation and spiritual crisis. I will outline some significant factors that influence the way people face losses, the different types of grief, the tasks to accomplish to address bereavement, some appropriate spiritual and counseling interventions, attitudes to avoid and to cultivate to offer consolation and ways of witnessing the presence of God in accompanying those who experiment the void of saying goodbye to a loved one with the proposal of healing paths to mend the broken heart.
2. Mrs Béatrice Perregaux Allisson (Switzerland): Training the awareness of God’s presence
Listening to God’s Word in Scripture exercises the same “muscle” as listening to our vis-à-vis in her/his mystery and individuality. While living a certain kind of Lectio Divina prior to times of intervision, we noticed a deepening in openness and profoundness. This attitude can be interpreted as increased awareness of God’s presence, a widening to unexpected, while remaining in a connection of resonance.
3. Mr Theo Pleizier (The Netherlands): Spiritual Formation in Parish Pastoral Care
In our book ‘Spiritual Formation in Local Faith Communities’ we propose a method for pastoral care in parishes drawing from the spiritual practices and traditions in Christianity. The prompt cards are used to spark deep reflection and shape potentially life-transforming conversations with a pastor around spiritual practices, spiritual character, personal and social ethics, and emotional well-being. The model was trialed in five countries. The workshop introduces the model and invites participants to discuss the possible applications of the model in their own context.
22 September (Thursday) Workshops II. 16:00-18:00
1. Mr Wim Smeets (Belgium): Presence of Spiritual Care as Imago Dei
In West-European countries, visiting patients by chaplains is dependent on a demand from the patient, family or care provider. However, because they often have a distorted view of spiritual care, chaplaincy is hindered. To tackle this problem, we started a project, following the so-called ‘presence approach’. In outpatient clinics, day care centers and other departments, colleagues are accessible present. They make an active, yet reserved offer to patients and their carers. They address them attentively and listen. From this attitude, colleagues hope to contribute to patients’ recognition of existence in an often uncertain and anonymous technological care environment. With this project we are in line with the hospital-wide pursuit of hospitality as an expression of person-oriented care. On an even deeper level, the colleagues represent God’s love for humanity. During the workshop we will discuss the development of a training in representing God’s love for humanity in an active way.
2. Mr Prof Dr Balázs Siba & Lilla SZABÓNÉ Dr. LÁSZLÓ (Hungary): Healing presence – an integrative model of pastoral counselling and spiritual care
A healing presence, which may take on the form of a pastoral counselling meeting, spiritual help, or brothers and sisters praying together are the practices of the orientation of faith signifying that God is present. Consequently, it is not a healing process created by human methods but rather a presence offered by believing in the Other. In the model of the healing presence we detect the following connections: (1) between the two participants, (2) between the one seeking help and the life issue/faith content, (3) between the pastoral counsellor and the difficulty outlined by the one seeking help — happen in raising awareness of God’s new life-giving will. Finally, one last characteristic of the healing presence must be mentioned, that (4) God’s Healing Presence – which works on the sanctity of a new life in the church, namely in the congregation – is unveiled in the reality of the body of Christ.
3. Ms Magdolna Kővári: The Role of Pastoral Theological Reflection in the Counseling and Supervision Process
Theological Reflection can be a powerful tool helping the counselor to gain a deeper understanding of both the client and the counseling process itself as it provides access to messages and meanings conveyed on preconscious and unconscious levels of communication. The type of theological reflection presented here takes place after the counseling session as part of the counselor’s reflection on the encounter and is meant to deepen his/her understanding of the client, of the client’s situation, of the counseling session, and his/her own way of being present in that session, including issues of transference and countertransference, and as such it can also promote self-understanding and self-knowledge. The workshop will be practical, therefore the participants are asked to bring with them a case presentation (the description of a counseling session along the enclosed points) which they would be willing to present to the group.
24 September (Saturday) Workshops III. 13:30-15:30
1. Mrs Márta Palojtay (Hungary/Ukraine): The Healing Power of Change in ‘Imago Dei’
We have been working with post-abortive women for 14 years in the framework of 4-day-retreats, which often proved to be a life-changing experience for them. To our astonishment, the inner healing happened not so much as a result of speaking out the pain, of sharing with a group of women in the same shoes, of completing the stuck grief process, or reconciliation with those involved in the decision. All these were important, but what really mattered was the change in their God image. How could this happen in 4 short days? What do studies say about the connection between God image and mental health? How is it formed? What are the ways to attempt a positive change in the client’s image of God? How does it work in practice? I have extensively studied these questions and wrote about it, but most of all, have seen God at work in showing broken people what He really is like.
2. Zsuzsanna Jáki (Hungary): The presence of God – as a corrective emotional experience
At this workshop I review some findings on how the relationship with God can be a healing force for clients, including a Hungarian research conducted among psychoterapists on the theme of spirituality in psychotherapy; a literature search on possible ways of integrating spiritual direction techniques in care; and literature on attachment to God as a source of healing (God as a substitute attachment figure). Following the introduction I share some case examples of my own. Then I invite workshop participants to reflect on their own experiences first through a guided spiritual reflection, and after this through participating at world café discussions. (Small group discussions on different aspects of the topic “The presence of God – as a corrective emotional experience).