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Foreword from the Chairman

An Emotional Health Congress



Expressing our emotions such as fear, happiness, anger, sadness and many others used to be taboo, and reserved for intimate moments or therapy. Today it has become part of our day-to-day exchanges. Faced with diverse forms of violence we remain powerless. Whether we are teachers, parents, managers or politicians, our emotional intelligence can help us deal with difficult situations. We are at the beginning of a different era in communication and it is likely to influence our relations with others and with ourselves.

How did this change come about?

First of all the impact of the concept of personal development seems to reflect our need to live in harmony and peace, to be free and responsible for our lives. The increasing influence and democratisation of contemporary psychology are opening doors to new approaches and experiences. Being able to manage our own frustrations and disagreements with others, developing listening skills and our openness to learning from our relationships, doubtlessly contribute to our emotional health. Several experiments around the world are raising the hope that these skills will one day be taught in schools.


Secondly, the amount of information on the subject has literally exploded over the last years in the mass media. A brief visit to the human science department of any library and seeing the number of books and best-sellers on human relationships makes this obvious.


Emotions and human wellbeing


This subtle change in our communication habits will bring about a major shift towards a world with less violence and conflict - a world where internal peace for each human being may lead to peace among people.


Focusing on empathic listening means being completely available, acknowledging and reflecting one another’s emotions and basic human needs. Receiving empathy enables clarity, relief, trust and self-confidence; it leads to resilience and healing. Scientists around the world have demonstrated that the way human beings manage their emotions has an impact on their physical and mental health. This is where our exploration of Emotional Health begins.


TES experience of emotional health


The IFOTES members’ experience of training non-professional volunteers to give emotional support has had an interesting outcome. By developing listening skills and learning how to manage emotions, they benefit from better emotional health for themselves.


2007 congress: aims and wishes


The objective of this International Congress is to explore, with internationally renowned specialists, our current understanding of emotions: how they function, their impact on our lives and our potential educational development. The approach will be scientific, empirical, philosophical, artistic and research-oriented. It is intended to be accessible to each and everyone.


IFOTES is proud to organize this Congress with its Italian National member Telefono Amico Italia. We are very honoured to have the World Health Organization (WHO) as co-sponsor of this Congress and the support of its sister organizations, LifeLine International and Samaritans Befrienders Worldwide, as well as the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP). For the first time in its history, participation in this IFOTES International Congress will be open to the outside world.


My wish is that this special event may contribute to the beginning of a new perspective on human health and that it opens up and allows new co-operation in creating a world where human beings are able to develop their self-awareness and their relational consciousness.


Mark Milton
Chairman, IFOTES


The understanding of human emotions is expanding into a new dimension in the XXI century.


It is radically changing people’s lives and will have a major impact on their future development.