Keynote Speakers

Opening speakers


Robert Elliott

Opening Conference talk: In Search of the Kernel of Interpersonal Helping

Robert Elliott, PhD, Professor of Counselling University of Strathclyde.


Dan Zahavi

Opening Conference talk: Psychotherapy and Applied Phenomenology

Dan Zahavi is Professor of Philosophy at University of Copenhagen and University of Oxford, and director of the Center for Subjectivity Research in Copenhagen. Zahavi’s primary research area is phenomenology and philosophy of mind, and their intersection with empirical disciplines such as psychiatry and psychology. In addition to a number of scholarly works on the phenomenology of Husserl, Zahavi has mainly written on the nature of selfhood, self-consciousness, intersubjectivity, empathy, and social ontology. His most important publications include Self-Awareness and Alterity (1999), Husserl’s Phenomenology (2003), Subjectivity and Selfhood (2005), The Phenomenological Mind (together with Shaun Gallagher) (2008/2012), Self and Other (2014), Husserl’s Legacy (2017), and Phenomenology: The Basics (2019). Zahavi also serves as the co-editor in chief of the journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. Over the years, Zahavi has received a number of academic awards for his work including the Elite Research Prize, and the Carlsberg Foundation’s Research Prize. He is also the recipient of an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council. His writings have been translated into more than 30 languages.

Main speakers


Susan Stephen

Conference talk: Holding True: The Continuing Resonance of Rogers’ Theory in Contemporary Person-Centered Practice

Susan Stephen, Ph.D., is a person-centered therapist, supervisor, trainer and researcher based in Glasgow, Scotland. Her research interests include investigating the development of congruent functioning in person-centered therapy, exploring methodological innovations in measure development and case study research, and supporting practitioners to develop an informed approach to measurement in counselling. Susan is an active member of the national and international person-centred community with contributions as Secretary of PCT Scotland (2004-7), Chair of the Board of the World Association for Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapy & Counseling (2010-2013; Board Member, 2008-14), and, since 2018, as a co-editor of the international peer-reviewed journal, Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies.


Akira Ikemi

Conference talk: How Can I Be of Help to You and to Me: Focusing and Mindfulness Perspectives

Akira Ikemi, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapist, Professor: Kansai University Graduate School of Psychology. Having been raised in an international community in Kobe, Japan, Akira is English-Japanese bilingual. He graduated magna cum laude double majoring in psychology and philosophy at Boston College. He studied with Professor Eugene Gendlin at the University of Chicago Graduate Division and then returned to Japan. He worked at the Kitakyushu Municipal Hospital and then at the University of Occupational & Environmental Health School of Medicine where he got his doctorate. Since then, he has taught at Okayama University, Kobe College and now at Kansai University. He has taught part-time at universities including Shizuoka University Graduate School, Hyogo University of Teacher Education Graduate Division, Kyushu University, the University of Strathclyde (UK). He has also been a doctoral thesis examiner at the University of East Anglia (UK) and the University of Sydney (Australia). Akira has served as one of the founders and past-presidents of the Japan Focusing Association, and has served as board members of the Japanese Association of Humanistic Psychology, The International Focusing Institute (USA), World Association of Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling (UK). Currently he is a member of the steering committee of the Eugene Gendlin Center and an editorial member of the journal, Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies. He teaches Focusing all across Japan and worldwide, including China, Australia, Greece, United Kingdom, United States of America.


Leslie Greenberg

Conference talk: Changing Emotion with Emotion
One-day pre-conference workshop: The Transforming Power of Emotions

Leslie Greenberg, Ph.D., is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Psychology at York University in Toronto. He was originally trained in Person Centered and Gestalt therapy and engaged in psychotherapy research. He has authored the major texts on Emotion Focused Therapy from the first books Emotion in Psychotherapy (1986) and Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (1988) to most recent Emotion-Focused Therapy (2015) and Emotion Focused Therapy of Forgiveness and Letting Go (2019). He has received both the Early Career and the Distinguished Research Career Award of the International Society for Psychotherapy Research as well as the Carl Rogers and the Distinguished Professional Contribution to Applied Research of the American Psychology Association. He also has received the Canadian Psychological Association Professional Award for distinguished contributions to Psychology as a profession. He is a past President of the Society for Psychotherapy Research. He now spends the majority of his time training people in emotion–focused approaches.


Dagmar Nuding

Conference talk: Being of Help in Person-Centered and Experiential Treatment of Young People
Dr. Dagmar Nuding works as a lecturer for Educational Psychology, Counselling and Intervention at the University of Education in Schwaebisch Gmuend, Germany and as psychotherapist for children, young people and families in a private practice. She is the chair of the German Association for Person-Centered Therapy and Counselling (GwG) and has been honored with the Virginia Axline Young Talent Award. With Mick Cooper and Jeanne Watson she is one of the co-editors of the book Person-Centered Psychotherapy Works. She was part of the Editorial Board of the International Person-Centered Journal PERSON (2010-2016). As Secretary General of the German Association for Person-Centered Therapy and Couselling (GwG) she edited the journal Gesprächspsychotherapie und Personzentrierte Beratung (2011-2016). Between 2016 and 2019 she was the second chairperson at the GwG. She is involved in the education of person-centered counselors and therapists for children and young people in Germany.

Semi plenary speakers


Christian Hjortkjær

”You are a TOY!” – Kierkegaard’s Concept of Courage and Anxiety in Toy Story
Through an analysis of Pixar’s Toy Story we will see how “the secret art of helping” according to Kierkegaard is not an attempt to ease the pain or remove the problems in life but rather an upbuilding act of helping the other person to regain the very courage to live.

Christian Hjortkjær, Ph.d. from The Søren Kierkegaard Research Center at The University of Copenhagen. Author of several books on the topics of existential theology, ethics and psychology. Currently lectures, writes and teaches existential matters at a Danish Folk High School.


Peter Berliner

How Can We be of Help? Indigenous Community Healing Today
More info will follow

Peter Berliner, PhD, professor of psychology at Ilisimatusarfik/University of Greenland.