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Plenary and Semi-Plenary Sessions


Parallel lectures


Workshops and Discussion Groups

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First plenary session: 10.00-11.30




Emotions: Psychology and empathy



Understanding emotional competence


Klaus R. SCHERER, Professor


Institution: Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland


Brief biography: Professor of Psychology and Director of the Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences and the Geneva Emotion Research Group. Research specialization: the different components of emotion processes and emotional competence. Numerous book and journal publications.



summary of the current view of emotion as a process driven by a cognitive evaluation of significant events in our material and social environment. The outcome of this appraisal process leads to the preparation of adaptive responses that help to cope with the consequences of the emotion-eliciting situation. In addition, through their expression in face, voice and body, the emotions serve as important signalling devices in human interaction, capable of producing empathic responses from our social environment and serving strategic purposes in interpersonal relations. Special attention will be given to the notion of “emotional competence”: responding with appropriate emotions to relevant events, regulating emotional arousal in response to internal monitoring and social norms, and mastering interpersonal skills related to recognizing the emotions of others and responding with empathy. Recent advances in diagnosing emotional competence and approaches to the development of these skills are described.


Web site address:




Empathy: to be concerned by others


Boris CYRULNIK,Professor, Psychologist,Neuro-psychiatrist

Director of teaching Ethology-Attachment


Institution: University of Toulon, France


Brief Biography: Director of teaching Ethology-Attachment, is one of the pioneers of French ethology. He is also a neuro-psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and psychologist, author of many books, translated into 14 languages. He has been studying the human being in all its complexity and vulnerability, richness and anxiety.



To be concerned by others requires an ability not to be self-centred. We need a secure base to feel the pleasure of exploration. When we are supported by a secure attachment we can develop this ability - sometimes too much, as in masochism, and sometimes not enough, when it leads to sadism.





Semi-plenary sessions: 12.00-13.15 and 17.00-18.15




Research programmes on TES work and volunteers





The influence of personality, emotional competence and empathy on emotion-regulation: dealing with emotions in different types of social interaction


Research programme Geneva University – Switzerland

Tanja Wranik, Katia Schenkel & Klaus Scherer


Social interactions are enriching, challenging, and filled with a multitude of emotional experiences. Indeed, most emotions occur in social interactions, and knowing how to deal effectively with emotions in different contexts is a key to successful interpersonal relationships. Although there is no doubt that the training and services provided by IFOTES-affiliated organizations is excellent, we know little about the personalities and emotional competences of these volunteers or what makes them successful in various social interactions. For example, it seems reasonable to expect that different types of individuals are more or less at ease in specific social interactions. Some may feel more comfortable with aggressive callers; others may deal more effectively with anxiety and depression. A better understanding of IFOTES volunteers - and their personalities, emotional skills, and empathy - would allow us to determine whether there is a “good fit” between volunteers and their ability to manage specific emotional situations. This in turn would help trainers adapt their programs to individual differences and ensure that volunteers learn the best possible strategies to manage their emotions and the emotions of others when responding to callers.


The purpose of this research is to examine personality differences, emotional competences, and empathy of IFOTES volunteers, and to determine how each volunteer’s unique blend of individual skills and preferences helps them deal with specific social-emotional interactions. In particular, we will focus on understanding how volunteers regulate their own emotions and the emotions of their callers and how these behaviours affect social interactions, health, and well-being both within and outside the environment of the IFOTES-affiliated help-line centre. We anticipate that some behaviours and skills learned within the IFOTES organization transfer to the work and home environment, while others are specific to the call-center, work or home environment. We hope this research will allow us to gain insight into the personalities and emotional competences of IFOTES volunteers, the emotional situations they encounter, and to identify the most effective emotion-regulation strategies for different individuals and situations.


Web site address:





The letter in a bottle in the Internet Ocean: implicit requests for help in e-mails sent to Telefono Amico Italia


Research Programme Padua University – Italy

Ines Testoni, Paola Fornasier, Luca Rusi


The e-mail service provided by Telefono Amico in Italy offers the opportunity to find help when the final and irreversible crossing appears as a possibility. The analysis of e-mail texts - written by individuals who turn to Telefono Amico with an open or latent request for help in handling suicidal intention - intends to study a number of descriptive ambits in order to make inferences about the universe of representations that characterise suicidal thought. In particular, the aim is to analyse the connection between grief and its representations in relation to the coping abilities on which the operator can act to allow the person asking for help to find new routes that can be alternative to the choice of death, as they are already open in the person’s own world of representations.


The research group from the University of Padua intends to use these texts to study two areas. One: the forms of grief that make life unbearable (anguish about the life-death relationship; knowing that one has to die makes living meaningless; and the representation of the non-sustainability of life, with grief as the physical dimension and suffering as the psychological dimension). Two: how individuals who cope with the idea of suicide find specific reasons to go on living (this dimension is analysed via the Reasons For Living Scale defined by Linehan et al., 1983). The type of computer analysis carried out on the texts is qualitative (Atlas-t) and qualitative-quantitative (Spad-t).





Second plenary session: 15.00-16.30



Emotions: Neurosciences and…



The compassionate brain: emotional activation and the transformation of novel experiences into new neuronal connectivity patterns


Gerald HÜTHER, Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. med. habil.


Institution: Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Germany


Brief Biography: Professor of neurobiology, Head of the Neurobiological Research Unit at the Psychiatric Clinic of the University of Göttingen, Germany. Author of “The compassionate brain” – Trumpeter Publ. Boston 2006.



By far the most significant finding in the field of neurobiological research in recent years is the discovery that the neuronal and synaptic connections in the human brain can be altered. The neuronal connectivity especially in the higher cortical brain regions depends to a far greater extent than previously believed on how – or rather, for which purpose – an individual uses his brain, the goals pursued, the experiences made in the course of his life, the models used for orientation, the factors providing emotional stability and a sense of commitment. All this is shaped in an experience-dependent process of brain plasticity and can therefore be altered by novel experiences made in later life or in the course of therapeutic interventions. This reorganization is not easy and does not always happen; favourable circumstances are early intervention, reactivation of psycho-affective resources, restoration of trust and connectedness.


Web site address:




Emotions and football


Andy ROXBURGH, technical director UEFA


Institution: UEFA, headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland


Brief Biography: UEFA Technical Director (1994-present); FIFA Technical and Development Committee Member; Member of FIFA and UEFA Technical Study Groups (TSG) at major tournaments; Former Scottish Football Association Technical Director.

Coaching history:Scotland coach, 1990 FIFA World Cup and EURO 92 (1986-1993); Former Scotland Youth and U-21 coach.


Abstract: soon available


Web site address:






FRIDAY, 13 JULY 2007


Plenary session: 9.00-10.30



Emotions: Philosophy and Meditation



Emotional experiences when life has no meaning: a philosophical approach



Roberto GARAVENTA, Professor


Institution: University of Chieti-Pescara, Italy


Brief Biography: at the University of Pescara-Chieti he holds the chairs of 19th and 20th century philosophy, philosophical anthropology, and political philosophy.
Specialisation: German philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries, works on suicide, boredom, death, anxiety, religion.


If intense and existential boredom (not to be confused with occasional or circumstantial boredom) is a condition of our mind caused by a loathing of the monotony of everyday life or the perception that our existence lacks meaning, we are overcome by a sense of anxiety. This may be because we have to make a decision about our future, or that we are obliged to recognise our personal limits, weaknesses, loneliness or the decline of our life leading to death.


Web site address:





Mastery of the self and circumstances through Raja Yoga Meditation


Sister Jayanti KIRPALANI


Institution: Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (UK), London, UK


Brief Biography: European Director, BKWSU.Practitioner and teacher of meditation for nearly 40 years. Experienced speaker/broadcaster in 80+ countries. Publications include: God's Healing Power (2002), Practical Meditation (2000), Meditation for Extremely Busy People (2000), Relaxing the Mind (2000)



In a world affected by crises of different types, people working in telecommunications are often the first point of contact in an emergency. The qualities needed to play such a role are coolness, clarity and the ability to respond with empathy and compassion.Raja Yoga is an ancient form of meditation whose re-discovery in modern times equates to mastery of thoughts, feeling and emotions, a state of peace, truth, stability and clarity.In this plenary session and workshop, we will focus on understanding the mind and the mechanisms with which it operates. The aim is to attain mastery of the self and the power to deal with our own emotional needs, as well as those of our families and colleagues, and to help others in the world who connect with us at their time of need.We will use a combination of functional and experiential exercises to explore how the theory of meditation can be put into daily practice.


Web site address:







First plenary session: 9.00-10.30



Emotions and Communication



War and Peace in the life of a couple: short domestic scenes


Thomas d’ANSEMBOURG with Dominique LAHAUT


Brief Biography: Certified Trainer in Non-violent Communication (NVC, Dr Marshall Rosenberg’s process). Author of two best sellers “Cessez d’être gentil, soyez vrai” and “Etre heureux, ce n’est pas nécessairement confortable” (Editions de l’Homme) now translated in more than a dozenlanguages. International lecturer and trainer (giving live conferences including role-playing) in Belgium, France, Switzerland, Québec and Morocco).



Illustrations ofthe practical use of the NVC attitude in daily life.“Guerre et Paix dans le couple: petites mise(s) en scène de ménage” is a conference and a play performed by Td’A (TA) and Dominique Lahaut (DL) (Dominique is an actor and theatre teacher.She is also following a course in Non-violent Communication). TA and DL present three playlets written by the renowned Jungian psychoanalyst from Quebec, Guy Corneau (taken from his famous book “N’y a-t-il pas d’amour heureux”, published in English under the title “Lessons in love”).Each playlet illustrates a typical conflictual relationship between two partners.Here is the sequence for each playlet.

1. TA and DL act out the conflict

2. TA explains the psychological pattern leading to the conflict

3. TA and DL replay the conflict with the words and the consciousness proposed by the NVC process.

4. TA explains the features of the NVC attitude and its power to enhance our capacity of for mutual understanding and personal responsibility, and to deepen the quality and creativity of our relationship.


Web site address: ,




Second plenary session: 15.00-16.30



Emotions and Arts



Emotions in music


Paolo FRESU, jazz musician


Brief Biography:. famous Italian trumpet and flugel horn jazz player born in Berchidda, Sardinia, and an arranger and a music composer.


Abstract: soon available


Web site address:






SUNDAY, 14 JULY 2007


Plenary session: 10.00-11.00




Emotional education in schools - exploring some programmes around the world



The relevance of compassionate communication in education


Nada IGNJATOVIC-SAVIC, Psychologist

Institutions:Non-Violent Communication Centre, Serbia



Starting from the point of view that education is about developing heart and soul as well as body and mind, the presentation will first give an overview of the observed shortages of habitual school practices to meet that purpose.

These observations were point of depart for several projects that the author and her team conducted with the support of UNICEF in the schools in Serbia since 1991, with the basic intent to implement programmes facilitating the development of emotional and personal awareness and integrity; social cognition and communication skills providing harmonious social relationships as well as of genuine motivation for learning and knowledge acquisition. Since 2000, these intervention programs are acknowledged by the Ministry of Education of Serbia as an integral part of teachers’ training and educative practice with children.

The presentation will summarize the basic features and effects of the intervention programmes - based on author’s interactive approach and M. Rosenberg's model of non-violent, compassionate communication.


Web site address:




Emotional Health for Every Child


Chris BALE,director


Institution: Partnership for children, United Kingdom



Summary: Zippy’s Friends is a school-based programme that promotes the mental health and emotional wellbeing of young children.  It is already running in 11 countries in Europe, Asia, and North and South America, and is expanding rapidly.  The programme has been extensively evaluated, and has been recognised by the World Health Organisation and the World Federation for Mental Health.  From Iceland to India, from the favelas of Brazil to the sprawling city of Shanghai, young children are learning coping skills that will help them to deal with difficulties and crises in adolescence and adult life.


Web site address:




Round table: 11.00-12.00



Emotional Health – a new consciousness



Debate on Future Perspectives for Emotional Health


Jose BERTOLOTE, Coordinator. Management of Mental and Brain Disorders. Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse,World Health Organisation, Switzerland

Brian MISHARA, President of International Association for Suicide Prevention, Canada

Mark MILTON, President of IFOTES, Switzerland

Steve EVANS, Chairman of Samaritans, United Kingdom

Mary PARSISSON, Chairman of Life Line International, Australia


Moderator: Gennaro SCHETTINO, Journalist, Italy