Feedback from first world congress

Compilation of feedback about the congress from delegates (NB some may have replied both on the day using paper forms, and online)

On the day, via 17 Feedback forms:

3.      The programme was :-    
1. Poor2. Not so good3. Average4. Good5. Excellent
1286
4.      The range of speakers was :-
1. Poor2. Not so good3. Average4. Good5. Excellent
377
5.      The standard of presentations was:-
1. Poor2. Not so good3. Average4. Good5. Excellent
5111
6.      The social programme was:-
1. Poor2. Not so good3. Average4. Good5. Excellent
225
7.      The Catering was:-
1. Poor2. Not so good3. Average4. Good5. Excellent
42362
8.      The audio-visual facilities were:-
1. Poor2. Not so good3. Average4. Good5. Excellent
467
9.      The Staff and volunteers were:-
1. Poor2. Not so good3. Average4. Good5. Excellent
512

Comments:
a. Expected food to be healthier than the processed bread and crisps at an expensive conference focussing on trying to live a better life…London is full of healthy alternatives.
b. Many choices of alternative events paradoxically generated a ‘monkey minded’ sense.
c. Expected more opportunities to informally connect with a support group.
d. Martin Adams, Schneider and Prunella – excellent and engaging, although Schneider was difficult to hear.
e. Perhaps some designated meeting places where those from same country could meet, as often in this business we work in isolation.
f. Where was Alain De Botton?
g. Olga was great, Gideon didn’t show!!!
h. Great initiative. Some fantastic sessions, but also sessions under average – both contents and the way of presenting. Suggestion: Make demands of a quality standard and maybe offer less to choose between and offer the same workshop several times.
i. I did miss Ernesto Spinelli, whom I regard as one of the most significant existentialists/phenomenologists of our time. Whatever reason it was that he did not attend – if we truly live what we teach there should be a chair for him at this conference.
j. Thank you for all your good work in organising the congress; a phenomenal achievement. At the next congress I hope that we can thematise the sociat dimension of existence more clearly, including questions such as: who pays for existential therapy and training? Where does that money come from? How can existential therapy reach access gaps of equity?
k. Lastly thank you for enabling the friendly and cooperative atmosphere.
l. Why didn’t you ask participants to volunteer to chair moderate sessions? Needed moderators for the sessions – some were extremely poorly timed and ruined it for others who wanted to ask (or be asked) questions. The ticketing was also really confusing and there were concurrent sessions on similar themes that meant we had to choose between things when we wanted to go to both. Next time please do thematic streams so that people can pursue interests with a kind of flow.
m. Also would have been nice tom tell participants that book would be available and inviting them to bring books to sell ( or for the bookshop to order in to sell)
n. Maybe you could try having bigger rooms for everybody (maybe pre-book?) so as for anyone that wants to attend a workshop could do so. I wasn’t able to be at two of them because of the lack of space. Such a pity!
o. Thank you for your work, it has been most inspiring participating, though I was very disappointed to find out that E.Spinelli was not here. We’ve all come a long way and he is one of the greatest – so why???
p. Miss – a list of participants!
q. Abstract book should have been available on the first day of the congress without charge so that the participants could choose the presentations better. The presentations shouldn’t be called WORKSHOPS if there is no practical part.
r. At coffee time a little cookie would have given the participants a boost of energy for the next session.
s. Wonderful generosity of spirit among everyone
t. Need more structured system for language translations.
u. Perhaps handouts would help for those not presenting in English
v. Some more information/abstracts about the speakers on the website (for free) would have been helpful to choose. The distinction between symposium/workshopand round table was not clear to me – workshops often were only presentations….
w. Some more time for questions/comments after presentations would have been nice.
x. The AC was a bit cold!
y. A few more practical demonstrations/experimental work!
z. A closing ceremony, as planned would have been nice.
aa. Thank you very much! I’m a young psychology student from Munich, Germany and I feel like I have found my place as a future psychologist – so if you need the “future warriors” you often spoke about – here I am! I would be interested in a master’s thesis in existential psychotherapy.
bb. It would have been great to have a programme including abstracts before the conference ( at least online)
cc. The different forms of workshops, symposium, and presentation were not clear and differed from meeting to meeting, that was a bit confusing. The different starting points and durations of the late morning/early afternoon meetings turned out to be a bit difficult (just a 30 min break).
dd. I’m no psychotherapist so far, not even a trainee – ‘just a student of clinical psychology (Germany) so – I’m very thankful for hearing what is taught – not even mentioned at the universities. Thank you very much. And by the way – as we were talking about doing more research. If there’s anything I’m trained for, so far that’s it. If you need researchers, just let me know.
ee. I think there is need to subscribe to various presentations.
ff. Many useful insights for general practicing of psychotherapy.
gg. Overview useful for students with little knowledge on existential psychotherapy – different perspectives.
hh. More opportunities for discussions would have been useful.
ii. I’m currently graduating in clinical psychology and I would be very thankful and interested for any other workshops/lectures of maybe even research project opportunities because the congress gave me many useful insights on topics that are rather neglected at university.
jj. I came to listen and learn in a spirit of enquiry. I am leaving with sense that I am part of a wider community who are also seeking answers, compassion, insight and understanding. My strong sense of hospitality however was diminished by the very poor fare and lack of chairs during seminars.

Electronically, of 22 respondents:
1.Poor 2. Not so good 3. Average 4. Good 5. Excellent

The congress venue was? 4.4
The congress organisation was? 3.6
The programme was? 3.7
The range of speakers was? 4.1
The social programme was? 3.3
The standard of presentations was? 4
The catering was? 2.9
The audio-visual facilities were? 3.9
The staff and volunteers were? 4.4
Comments
“The congress was impeccably organised and well executed. There was great attention to detail and presentations ran very smoothly and on time.”
Overall this was an excellent first congress for existential therapists in a stunning location. It brought a diverse motley (and sometimes eccentric) crew together to explore in their own way various dimensions of life and living. Perhaps because it was the first there seemed to be quite a bir of political posturing and idealism. However I hope as the years go on Existential Psychotherapy will become more prominent on the world stage. I think it will be taken more seriously it continues to be championed by passionate people focuses on the clincal work and remains open to difference but not so open that anything goes!!) This delegate also made a number of criticisms about some presentations lacking depth, no abstracts of presentations available beforehand (there were, but these had to be bought for a small sum), noisy translations, not enough clinical discussion, not enough comparison of existential and humanistic therapy, no coffee at registration,
“Thank you very much for all of your hard work!”
“The conference was overall fabulous for all the reasons declared at the closing. The main problem worth noting was that all concurrent sessions didn’t end at the same time making for awkward interruptions in following sessions”
“I loved the conference especially the location. I think it was well organized with good speakers. A success. I would have preferred a more upscale lunch for the 450 pounds I payed. Perhaps a small buffet or more options (sandwiches). I was often still hungry after the lunch”
“It was a delighful venue though space in some (break out) rooms too limited. The conference provided me with a very stimulating learning environment and raised many reflections and insights to take back and integrate into my own practice. The range of topics and ways of presenting was excellent. I was stunned at the low particiaption of SEA members and it seemed UK based practitioners generally (I could be wrong here)   but the diversity was fantastic though and added tremendously to the atmosphere and range of perspectives aired. So refreshing to hear new points of view different voices from around the world. A first rate CPD event thank you”
“It was a fantastic event that I thoroughly enjoyed with so much on that I couldn't see even half of what I would have liked to. My only criticisms would be the lack of notification when a presentation/workshop was cancelled leading to me missing a couple of sessions the other slight problem was the sound quality in the main auditorium which on occasion was slightly echoey and at times possibly depending on where one sat a little difficult to hear clearly. Otherwise – top class!”