Seeking meaning in the modern world
Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June 2016
– Trinity College, Dublin
Joe Griffin's suggestion for this year’s conference theme couldn’t be more relevant in today’s troubled world – as a recent human givens blog post highlights, meaning isn't just crucial for our mental health, it's crucial for our very survival too.
'Seeking meaning in the modern world'
Few leave this world without experiencing some level of suffering.
Since it is meaning that makes suffering tolerable (which is perhaps why we are driven to seek it) the theme of this weekend has critical relevance in these unsettling times.
We search in all directions for significance: in the language and behaviour of people around us; in nature; beauty; weather; science; religion; the arts; our work and play and in the pace of change. Without realising it, all the time we are looking to see if what has happened, is happening or might happen will impact on our ability to get our innate emotional needs met.
In modern times the old certainties have waned and the absence of adequate answers to the questions 'What is the purpose of living?' and 'What should I do?' and 'Why do I exist?' haunt many, giving rise to the 'illness' of meaninglessness, as illustrated by the upsurge in depression, anxiety, addiction and extremism in all its forms.
This conference explored meaning from many angles: Why do healthy children find the world intrinsically meaningful yet some of them grow up to become cynical and bored, or even kill themselves? And why do others end up finding meaning in crazy cults or by adopting destructive views that generate violent conflict and terror?
And why do our greatest moments of happiness seem to arise when we feel connected by love to others and the universe appears imbued with meaning, inspiring a sense of fascination, mystery and awe.
Explore our articles and interviews
At a time when we are struggling with a number of major moral dilemas, Ivan Tyrrell suggests that the human givens approach can help us reach ethical decisions.
Julia Welstead looks at the impact of bereavement and grief
Emily Gajewski shares her case experience with working with more complex forms of PTSD
THE pain–pleasure recall principle also explains the well-known phenomenon of conditioned taste aversion, which has always presented a problem for classical conditioning.
The fundamental new direction in therapy is more than just a set of new techniques explains Bill O'Hanlon in an article first published in 1995.
In 1991 Sue Hanisch was caught up in an IRA bombing at Victoria Station, London. She lost her right leg as a result and sufferd from severe PTSD for nine years…
People who find guilt feelings highly difficult to tolerate may be especially prone to the OCD-type behaviours of compulsive checking or checking rituals...
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Sue Gray, who takes over from Dr Declan Lyons, is an accomplished Senior Health & Social Care Director and Clinician...
As you may be aware of the work being carried out by the BACP/BPC/UKCP to create a framework called Scope of Practice and Education (SCoPEd).