EFA 2017 Annual Meeting

The 2017 EFA Annual Meeting

29 September – 1 October 2017, Padua, Italy

(near the beautiful city of Padua in Northern Italy)

Casa religiosa di ospitalità, Via Santuario 130 – Abano Terme, 35037 Padova – Italia

Tel. – (0039) 049 8669041   Fax – (0039) 049 8639585

Notes from the General Assembly of our meeting at Abano of the 2017 EFA Meeting in Italy.

The great news to come out of it is that there will be
a European Focusing Conference
in Greece next year!

EFA 2017 Participants EFA 2017 participants

Task/Interest Groups

1. European Focusing Conference 2. Teaching Focusing 3. EFA as a Formal Organization 4. EFA Accreditation Programme

Local Committee

Pavlos Zarogiannis (Greece)
Anna Karali (Greece)
Nikos Kypriotakis (Greece)
Patricia Foster (Greece/UK)

European Committee

Edit Selmeczi (Hungary)
Hejo Feuerstein (Germany)
Maria Emanouela Galanti (Italy)
Judy Moore (UK)

Friedgard Blob (Germany)
Eirini Davleri (Greece)
Ria van Hage (Netherlands)
Evi Kladouhou (Greece)
Fiona Parr (UK)
Patricia Foster (Greece/UK) Hejo Feuerstein (Germany)
Maria Emanouela Galanti (Italy)

Taking part in one of these Groups

Registering myself in one of EFA Groups 2017-2018

Steering Group, from Oct 2017

Maria Emanuela Galanti, Caterina Carta and Bruna Blandino (Italy) (in a rotating manner)
Hejo Feuerstein (Germany)
Patricia Foster (UK/Greece)
Cornelius Gehrig (Germany)
Nikos Kypriotakis (Greece)
Judy Moore (UK)
Fiona Parr (UK)
Edit Selmeczi (Hungary)
Lucy Van Praag (Italy/UK)
Tine Swyngedouw (Belgium)

EFA General Assembly Notes

[Decisions were made according to the ‘card system’, explained by Fiona:

If you have a proposal you start with a Pink card
Yellow card- I have a question
Dark Blue card- I need a listener
Light blue-I need a pause
Green– I agree with the proposal
Orange– needs more discussion
Red– I disagree

When there is a general showing of green cards the proposal can go ahead.]


1. Feedback from interest groups
2. If and how we can continue next year. Can there be a bigger European gathering next year and who will organise it?
3. How to accredit programmes through EFA (coaching as an example).
4. Website and EFA issues.
5. Steering group. New members?
6. Connect EFA to other European Organisations.

1. Feedback from Interest Groups

The focusing teachers’ group (coordinated by Fiona Parr)
The proposal is to form a teaching group for people who are teaching focusing. That this be open to anyone who is teaching focusing.
They will meet regularly by Zoom.
First meeting in c. 6 weeks will be invited by Fiona.
They will aim to make use of the EFA website.
Practicalities will need to be worked out at a later stage. Zoom can work even for c. 25 people.
The proposal to form this group was voted on and agreed.

Focusing for Social Action and Cultural Change (coordinated by Maria Emanuela Galanti (Meg))
Discussed teaching focusing skills to refugees from Syria and their hosting families and volunteers in two towns in Italy: Rome and Turin. The connection with the Palestine Trauma Center in Gaza Strip and UK is necessary, especially because they have proved that Focusing is effective in releasing the effects of PTSD. Italy and Germany- as the two European countries that have more than others “welcomed” refugees- could work on cooperation in order to establish a best practice (presumably in Italy, if the Palestine Trauma Center applies and wins in a national competition to fund social projects though taxes). Germany (Hejo) is also quite proficient in the use of FOT for supervision of the work of psychologists and younger colleagues who work with refugees.

A second Possibility of working together is on health programmes in the workplaces. Here the aim is also to enable Focusing to take the place of Mindfulness to deal with stress and conflicts.

A third possibility for Focusing as a practice aiming at cultural change is to use platforms and other online connection, such as groups do when they use an EdX platform, e.g. Ulab, We-Space Summits, Presencing.org.

Because this interest group was small and did not meet in the early afternoon as planned, Meg is not taking responsibility for such a group on the EFA website (no sign-up sheet was handed out for this task group). However, she will join the group if someone else does.

Focusing Oriented coaching group (coordinated by Aukje Strandstra)
This group is established and ongoing. General discussion: in “mainstream coaching” there is a lack of experiential concepts and practice; clients feel relieved when coaches offer an experiential space to reconnect with their ongoing own processes. And also for coaches it is more satisfying and efficient to work experientially. We realised that we as Focusers already practice the Experiential approach in our work, and we should make it more explicit and promote this approach in the public domain. One way to do this is to work on the European programme on Focusing-oriented Coaching.

It was decided that webpages will be created for all the groups to continue their work.

2. How do we continue? Can there be a bigger European conference and who will organise it?

Anna Karali proposed that Greece host a European Focusing Conference next year. It will be held in Greece but the aim is that it will be a truly European event organised in honour of Gene Gendlin and as a project of the European Focusing Association. It will take place in May or June 2018 (next year).

The project was warmly welcomed and agreed by all present, including those on Zoom.

There needs to be a task group and there was some discussion about whether or not keynote speakers should come from outside of Europe.

Pat proposed that different countries come up with suggestions.

Maybe involve coaching if needed by team.
Hejo proposed that a group be founded within EFA to support the Greek team.

Next steps- date and location to come from Greek group.

3. How to accredit programmes through EFA

This was proposed by Hejo Feuerstein and discussed in relation to Concept 004 (a separate document, which was handed round at the meeting).

An accreditation committee will be responsible for issuing certificates. Proposes a framework based on what has been considered in relation to the coaching programme (Hejo and Aukje).

A committee will be formed, open to all members, to discuss this.

This is not about legal accreditation, but about accreditation by EFA. It will mean accreditation inside our network.

The language issue was discussed. Many very good trainers do not speak English. The idea is that individuals would take a workshop (e.g. in coaching) and then take it back to their own country to present in their own language- using English as a ‘bridging’ language. It may be that national groups could organise their own translation of material.

Astrid: language is a common issue among focusers in Europe. Need for repetition and going slowly in giving workshops to ensure understanding.

Hejo: most Europeans speak ‘broken English’. Aim of this project is to communicate as well as is possible in English so that the material can then be communicated more fluently in native languages to groups in own country.

Translation might be organised locally, ideally by someone who has some understanding of focusing.

Next step: Hejo proposes a trial and then he and Aukje will report back.

Majority of green cards. Germana needs more time but is happy for the proposal to go ahead.

4. Website and EFA issues

Nikos Kypriotakis is currently in charge of the EFA website (https://legacy.efa-focusing.eu). He pointed out that the website has much to offer. You can upload docs, events, etc., but you first need to log in.

The way for new members to register is to email Nikos. He will then register the new person. We have had too many spam users so have had to stop automatic registration.

We also have a Facebook page where things can be posted (https://www.facebook.com/FocusingEurope)

It was suggested that maybe the front page could be added to so that new things can be displayed- and also things that people from outside would be interested in.

Grateful thanks for all his hard work on the website were expressed to Nikos. Thanks were also expressed to Hejo, who organised the current website with his German colleague, Gilbert Seilheimer.

The structure has recently been improved and it is easier to add to it now.

Patricia said that the website should be financed. Partly to boost it and also to pay for support. There was general agreement, but a difficulty is that to finance the website we would need to form a more official organisation.

Hejo: originally a ‘formal’ organisation was proposed for EFA and then it was rejected in Paris. Because with a formal organisation you lose power and energy and have a hierarchy.

Hejo proposes that we have a task group re founding an official organisation, to consider whether or not we need it. We are trying not to compete with other organisations and that is one of the reasons why we have avoided a fee. Maybe donations would be an option.

Discussion about whether or not we want to be a formal organisation. Advantages and disadvantages.

A proposal for the formation of a task group to look at whether or not we want to be a formal organisation was agreed. Hejo proposed that those who want to establish a formal organisation discuss the pros and cons and submit a proposal to the next General Assembly.

5. Steering group

The steering group is currently Hejo, Fiona, Pavlos, Nikos, Judy, Tine– more recently joined by Meg for the purpose of putting this Abanoevent together.

Judy and Fiona want to ease their way out over the next year. Pavlos would like to step down immediately (though he will be involved in the organisation of the Greek conference). Hejo, Nikos and Tine will continue for now, Nikos in a reduced way. He will no longer reply to emails that are sent to the EFA email address, but Judy and Fiona will look out for them instead.

The steering group needs to have an overview of what is going on and to inform other members what is going on.

The current steering group have always regarded themselves as an ‘interim’ steering group. They will continue in this way for another year and invite new members.

Tine: recommends that each task group sends a representative to the steering group.

Possible new members Cornelius, Lucy, Caterina and/or Bruna and Meg (on a rotating basis to represent Italy- maybe, Edit (from Hungary) maybe also Patricia.

Agreed: to write to possible new members and invite them to participate in some of our meetings and to take on some tasks.

6. Connect EFA to other European Organisations

Meg is going to a Culture Action Europe (CAE, web site: http://cultureactioneurope.org) the network of cultural organisations funded by the European Commission under the programme “Creative Europe”. The aim of her participation is to check whether EFA can contribute to CAE goals on a sustainable future and an inclusive Europe. She will report back to the Steering Group


©2024 European Focusing Association (EFA).


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