The first International Conference of the Polish Association of EFT is now history!

On Saturday, May 13, the Polish EFT Association’s first international conference, “Healing Relationships – Developmental Paths in Emotionally Focused Therapy,” was held in Poznań. Where our Trainer Giulia Altera brought a moving talk on Pursuer Sofening and Janis Joplin.

What a wonderful experience it was!

The conference was opened by the creator and coordinator of the conference organizing team, Karolina Włodarczyk-Nadolska. In an extremely welcoming speech, she summarized the development of the Polish EFT community to date and welcomed all present to begin a great journey of growth! The conference was attended by 98 people, members and non-members of PSEFT and a group of nice therapists from Ukraine.

The feedback from colleagues was really exciting and positive!

The speeches

Sandra Taylor:
The opening of the conference was given by EFT Trainer Sandra Taylor. Mentor of the PSEFT community, who with wisdom and experience introduced us to the EFT therapeutic model developed by Sue Johnson, and then allowed us to experience the richness and challenge presented by going beyond the universality of the basics of EFT. She walked us through, exploring and examining the most nuanced contexts in which to apply EFT, with precisely those populations that are often discriminated against and oppressed in societies around the world. Especially the LGBTQI+ community.

Lieven Migerode and Jef Slootmaeckers

then focused instead on the need to find relational space during the storm of psychotherapy.

What happens to us as therapists when we find ourselves in a situation that our nervous system perceives as dangerous in session? What can we do to re-restore safety for ourselves and our clients? How do we retune ourselves emotionally so that we can continue to navigate the sea of emotions and attachment bonds?

This Trainer duo’s talk was about EFT and escalation during sessions. They moved us with their openness and clinical depth, and the presentation on the inclusion of the therapist’s self in an interactive scene with the other Trainers present was very experiential and touching.

Giulia Altera

Our Trainer Giulia Altera brought many tears to flow….

During her presentation, she literally invited us to listen to the key process of change in Stage 2 of EFT therapy – “The Pursuer Softening,” describing the process of this change through the story and music of Janis Joplin.

One would expect that within couples love can be given and received easily between two partners. But couples therapists know in clinical practice that this is not always the case.
Although we have the need to be loved, to be seen and cared for by our loved ones, this need is not always met. This impasse is so painful that there is no option but to protect ourselves.
This is how we get stuck in negative interaction cycles that we know very well in EFT. Because of these cycles, we become even more disconnected and fragmented.

The self is deprived even more of love.
EFT knows very well how to defuse these cycles, but it wants to do more.
EFT wants to change the dance music in which couples are stuck.

In this walk, Giulia introduced in a technical, specific and experiential way this process of change through Janis and her life, loneliness, and energy. We learned how to use ourselves as a ‘tool’ of change in the therapeutic process, in the most attuned way possible.

Polish community workshops:

It was then the turn of Katarzyna Moneta-Spyra and Anna Zarzycka to present the diagnosis process in the EFT model of couples therapy. Initial sessions with the couple are important, as they form the basis for subsequent work together. With attachment theory as a guide, the EFT therapist moves seamlessly between assessment and intervention, paying attention to four dimensions: context, attachment, therapeutic alliance, and emotions.

Then Barbara Slawik and Jakub Macewicz gave a presentation focusing on emotional work and micro-interventions used to transform couple partners, both individually and relationally, silencing echoes of trauma and increasing resilience to future stress and/or trauma. A video of clinical work with a Polish couple was presented.

Kamila Kaminska, Karolina Wlodarczyk-Nadolska and Magdalena Jankowska-Makowska, on the other hand, presented challenges and blocks in working with the protective avoidance modality of a couple in EFT stages I and II. The speakers invited us to take a journey into the world of the withdrawing person, a “moonwalk.” They presented practical working techniques to help us tune in and better prepare, as well as an account of working with a Polish couple.

In their presentation, Grażyna Kasprzyk and Joanna Gruszczynska then explained the Hold Me Tight – Przytul mnie mocno (Hold Me Tight) workshop mainly from a practical point of view: how to prepare for it, what are the options for conducting it, what benefits it has, and what elements may pose a challenge for future leaders. They emphasized how it differs from therapy and where we can find commonalities.

Closure:

The conference ended with thanks to five wonderful women from the courageous conference organizing team, Karolina Włodarczyk-Nadolska, Magdalena Jankowska-Makowska, Kamila Kamińska, Joanna Gruszczynska, and Magdalena Sękowska. We would also like to thank our wonderful colleagues responsible for registration and administration on both days, Marta Czarnecka-Iwańczuk and Magdalena Popławska. And also to the training team, Beata Zielińska-Rocha, Grażyna Kasprzyk and Barbara Slawik, whose work enabled PSEFT to fund much of the conference.

Last but not least, Katarzyna Moneta-Spyra was introduced to the Polish community in her new role as Trainer in Training for Poland, Congratulations!!!!

The 1st International Conference of the Polish EFT Association offered us two days really rich in content and extremely interesting and exciting!!!

It was an honor to be present, and in closing there was no end to the hugs and tears of happiness!

Until the next opportunity for connection and collaboration!!!

Some of the material in this article is courtesy of the PSEFT site of the Polish community!

Thank you!!!