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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

World Conference on Psychology, Cousneling and Guidance

I had the opportunity to attend this conference in Antalya, Turkey. This is apparently the third effort with the first being a scaled down version followed in 2010 by a successful full blown conference. I also had the opportunity to present a paper on the impact on parents whose children become alcohol or drug addicted.

There were several interesting papers presented included one by a group called the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children. They are doing some very interesting work on trafficked children. Their website is

A colleague from Mount Royal University did a presentation on aboriginal women in Canada. An important point is how solutions for cultural oppression can often be found in empowering women including through education.

I was impressed with some presenters from Iran who showed that an important discourse is taking place in that country including through Jungian psychology and some health methods that perhaps we take for granted such as biofeedback. Clearly, what we hear through the western media about Iran is so skewed that it misses the day to day life of the average Iranian. We met a couple of very powerful feminists from there as well. But we also met many who would truly welcome coming to the West in order to study and achieve academic growth they feel is blocked to them in their home country. They spoke with pride about Iran but regretted that links with the West are nota s open.

A lack of open communication around the globe has meant that some researchers are quite behind. the topics they present could well be seen as "old news" to Western researchers but are cutting edge in countries where their access to academic material is limited. Even so, things such as feminism are growing forces along with desires for peace and an environment that will sustain families. This lady saw feminism as a way to heal the physical environment that we are polluting by changing to a focus of loving the space we live within.

There is a need for learning about each other and seeing the amazing things that are getting done. We met a great grandmother who, at 75, is actively supporting child protection through running an orphanage.

One keynote speaker, Dr. M. Campbell from Australia presented on cyberbullying showing show pervasive it has become. It is there 24/7 as technology does not get turned off but we lack effective resources for interventions at this point. This is an emerging area that we need to better understand.

Regrettably, the conference was held at an all inclusive resort, Cesar's Temple in Antalya, that ran counter to a productive meeting. The organization was pathetic leaving many sessions in chaos, poorly attended and causing much resentment among those who came to share ideas and learn from each other. In the absence of Herculean efforts to change how the conference is run, those considering attending in the future should do so with great caution. I, along with many who were there this year, will not return.

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