If you are considering taking part in some of our trainings or groups, read what participants of passed training wrote about their experience from Introductory Training and Group Experience 2015.
Weronika: “Despite having done quite some reading on PCA before the training, I was really surprised to discover the great variety of issues it covers or stimulates to surface up. Very real and very engaging experience on many levels.”
Klara: “I realized some things really deeply. It´s the feeling like you know and you can never act like before. I realized what it means to be focused on person and not on problem and this changed a lot in my thinking about psychotherapy and helping professions.”
Soňa: “Three weekends, which I enjoyed very much, I experienced the principles of PCA approach and I have changed myopinion on it, it spoke to me a lot with its simplicity and efficiency. The most important thing is to realize myself and my presence. I was interested in all the activities that we did – encounter group, laboratory, theory, game activities, demonstration of a therapeutic session, application of the basic ideas of PCA in everyday life (work, family, children). Training full of experiences, emotions, awareness of myself and others. All this thanks to the group of participants and the best therapists Willi and Daniela.”
Markéta: “I really enjoyed this training since I got the experience of the real person-centered approach. I participated in an encounter group and gained knowledge in both theory and practice, which was very well balanced. I particularly appreciated the fact that we could try everything on our own and watched a video of Carl Rogers practicing the therapy himself, which was very valuable in connection with my future career.”
Zuzka: “The training experience of PCA was very inspirational for me. It helped me to get deeper into my inner world and to understand myself better. It is easier to breathe and live in our society full of complicated relationships now. I would like to appreciate a personal approach of Daniela and Willi Roes, their wonderful energy and exemplary accompanying for the whole training period. Thank you!”
This article is written by Era Poudel. Currently she is an intern from Nepal at the Person Center. She is doing her Erasmus internship and studies Business Administration and Management at University of Almeria, Spain.
I had never been to any kind of therapy before. When I heard the word therapy, I used to imagine the stereotypical ideas that I had learnt from movies and series. “We just go to therapy when we have any issue. If you have an ENT issue, you go to an Otolaryngologist. If you have a physological issue, you go to a psychologist.” But recently, interning here at the Person Center, I realized how wrong I was.
To visit a psychologist or a therapist, we do not necessarily need to have any issues or problems. Specially in the person centered approach, a therapist is not there to correct any deformity we think we might have. A PCA therapist acts as a facilitator or a medium of communication between oneself and to their inner self. Talking specifically about the bodywork, it is a therapeutic or personal development technique that involves working with the human body in a form involving manipulative therapy, breath work, or energy medicine.
At Person Center, Willi Ross, has his own approach to bodywork. He offers bodywork therapy based on Person Centered Approach. Therefore, this bodywork therapy does not include any manupulative techiniques or any medicines. He aims to promote awareness of the “bodymind connection”, an approach that sees the human body and mind as a single integrated unit. According to Willi, “Words cannot do any justice to express the experiences we have”. To understand his clients better, he pays less attention to the words. He feels that words are an obstalce, a screen that limits the encounter with the real person. During his search for a more direct and unfiltered way of listening, he came to a realization of listening directly to the body rather than what our lips are merely trying to say. While in the session, the client reestablishes contact with themselves by listening to their body and simply by being fully present to their whole being and Willi as a therapist is listening to their body and he accompanies the client to their journey of knowing themselves.
Why is touch important and why at Person Center we focus on touch so much?
Touch is a basic human need. Positive, nurturing touches, like a hug or hug, connect us with others and help us feel accepted and loved. When touch is nurturing, meaning that it is loving, kind and desired, touch plays a key role in healthy development.
Physical contact distinguishes humans from other animals. From a warm handshake or a sympathetic hug to a congratulatory pat on the shoulder, we have developed complex languages, cultures and emotional expressions through physical contact. But in a world saturated with technology, non-sexual human contact is becoming rare, even obsolete. Despite the advantages of digital advancement, the preservation of the human dimension is essential for our true fulfilment. Without being touched, people become almost unrecognizable.
Two hundred years ago, French scientists discovered a creature that looked like a human running through the forest. After his capture, they discovered he was 11 years old and had spent much of his childhood wandering the woods. Originally, the “Victor” kid was called an idiot; French doctors and psychiatrists eventually concluded that he had been deprived of human physical contact, which had slowed his social and developmental skills.
Skin-to-skin contact is essential not only for mental and emotional health, but also for physical health. When you feel pressured or pressured, your body produces cortisol, the stress hormone. One of the best things touch can do is relieve that stress and keep the immune system working as it should.
Touch can also calm certain bodily functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure. It does this by stimulating pressure receptors that transmit signals to the vagus nerve. This nerve connects the brain to the rest of the body. It uses the signals to slow down the rhythm of the nervous system. Touch from an early age is believed to be crucial for building healthy relationships by stimulating the pathways of oxytocin, serotonin, a natural antidepressant, and dopamine, a pleasure neurotransmitter.
It can also fight against loneliness. According to a 2017 study by Nature.com, gentle touch can reduce both pain and feelings of social exclusion.
My personal experience
When Willi first explained to me the idea of body work, I was quite intrigued and recently I had the chance to experience it first hand. Before the body work session, I had several mixed emotions, including emotions of both fear and curiosity. When the entered the room, the atmosphere was very soothing, the lights, the sound of the water stream. For me personally, the bodywork session was quite relaxing. I generally tend to have a lot of thoughts. I always think about what I am going to do, what I will do later, I sometimes even create imaginative scenarios in my head and just think a lot about many many things. This habit of mine sometimes even gives me headaches. Honestly, I can never recall the time when my mind was without any thoughts while I was consious or awake. Maybe this could be a bit of anxiousness. In fact, I have to do something to keep myself busy from my thoughts so I either use my phone a lot, or watch a lot of movies/series. Even when I am eating, I need to watch something. But, during the body work session, which lasted abour an hour, I was not thinking. I was so relaxed that my brain had stopped these unnecessary thoughts of the outer world. The session was like a reset button to my tired brain.
For the first time in forever, I felt so calm. Even after the session, I felt really well rested and I felt at ease. Later when I continued with my work, I was able to focus and concentrate more, without my brain being somewhere else. I felt like there was a better coordination between what I felt and what I was doing. I feel everyone should give bodywork a try. As all of us are very different and have our own needs, the bodywork is also different depending upon us and it solely focuses on who we are and what we want.
2) Download and fill in the Application form (in English, in Czech)
3) Print and sign your application
4) Bring your application along with a membership fee
Name Person Center z.s. (also Prague International Center for the Development of the Person, z.s.)
Aim Reinforcement and promotion of the Person-Centred Approach (PCA) in Czech Republic and surroundings using several languages. Offer of activities for the development of the person and ongoing education according to PCA.
Create synergy of person-centred actors.
Create supporting environment for the PCA practitioners.
Supply information service.
Organize conferences, courses and trainings.
Promote production of publications.
Offer individual and group counselling and psychotherapy.
Other objectives fitting to the aim of the association.
information about activities,
all means considered as useful.
Seat Radlicka 2487/99, Praha 5, 150 00
Founding members: Persons having assisted to the founding assembly.
Active member: Qualified persons for the activities of the association.
Ordinary member: Any physical person or legal entity interested in person-centred activities.
Rights and duties of members:
All members are obliged to participate in the interest of the association.
The members have to pay a membership fee fixed in the bylaws.
Members have right to be informed about the activities of association.
Founding members have a power of veto. A minimum 2 of them have to agree on the veto to be valid.
The association doesn´t administer any list of members.
General Assembly (GA)
General assembly is composed by the members of the association.
The GA is the decisive organ of the association.
The GA fixes the bylaws on proposition of the Board or a group of members.
Only active and founding members have the right to vote.
Only active and founding members can be members of the Board.
The Board consists of a minimum of 3 persons (chair, treasurer, secretary). Other members can be elected by the GA.
The members of the Board are legal representatives of the association and can act autonomously.
The Board represents the association according to the directives of the GA.
Property of the association consists of:
Contributions, donations, grants etc. from state, legal entities and natural persons.
Financial means obtained from activities of the association.
Any other income according to the aims.
Property management belongs to the Board and it is controlled by the General Assembly.
Association ceases to exist:
By decision of an extraordinary General Assembly.
By reasons given by Civil code (Občanský zákoník 89 /2012 Sb.).
Statutes were approved by founding members on August 18, 2015, Prague.
Jaroslav Necas, redactor from student magazine Agora has made an interview with one of our founders, Willi Roes, about his life, PCA and Person Center. Czech speakers can read it here. Now English speakers can read it finally as well.
I have seen on your webpage, that you have travelled a lot – in Europe at least. I’m from Germany, but I have always liked France. I have spent a lot of time in France and met a French girl there. So when you put all that together, I went to France for my Psychology studies. But I started with pedagogy in Germany, which was finally much better for therapy. The therapy for me is working on a relationship and relationship was the biggest topic in Pedagogy. That’s the reason why I chose it. Psychology is all about knowledge and knowledge is counterproductive for therapy.
Why do you think so? In Person centered approach, I want the person so be more close to himself or herself. And any diagnosis or plan I may have, won’t help the person to find out who she is and where she wants to go. So if I have many ideas in my mind about what could be the reason or where could it go, it just takes me away from the person.
What brought you to the PCA approach? Exactly that attitude, I was always interested in new relationships. For a long time I played very actively volleyball. I’m not a big sportsman, was not so good at sports, but I was always a team leader and I was able to keep the team together. That’s something I liked.
Do you think there are any specific qualities of a team leader, that you have? Yes, it is important to listen to everyone – not have my opinion said first, but let the team speak. To bring people together, make one understand the other and do it for pleasure. When playing, I always tried to be strong and do the best for the job, but the origins are in fun.
What brought you in Prague, or Czech Republic in general? That was easy. The Person centered world conference 2010 was in Rome, I met the delegate from the Czech republic there and she is my wife now. At that time I was still living in France and we were thinking, if we come together, where would be the best place for us. She would like to come to France, but was quite settled in here and Czech republic is also a better environment for therapy. I tried to work here, and we decided to stay.
So have you originally planned to found the Person Centre here? Not at all. I just came here in order to be a psychotherapist, to do what I did in France. First I hired a room in centre, where I did therapy twice a week, had some clients and as it was working, I wanted to start my own praxis. Finally I found this place. I started to work in October, one and a half year ago, had some clients and proposed some groups. Then I was here at summer, a bit annoyed – there were so many ideas and projects, but I was always working on them alone. I had very good experiences with interns in France – it was nice to have someone with me. I made the proposition to the university and got many requests. So just instead of having one intern, I finally had six. There was always enough work to do, to lead, to think and develop ideas. And so it all became structured. And a structured group of people should have an association. So we gave it a name – Person centre – a platform where people can meet and participate or develop various person centered activities.
What can be the potential benefits for students of psychology? You said, that you are offering some kind of internship, so how does it function? There are two main interests. The first is to try to look at the real life a psychotherapist can live. What is the practice like, the problems of the clients and what are all the questions around it. Psychological ideas of what should I do with the client and to see how it works in reality. Originally I had an idea of allowing the students to observe the therapy sessions with some clients, that are ready to receive it, but it didn’t work very much, I don’t know why. Just one student came once. The students can also attend groups, where we think and talk about what’s happening in the therapy and another two supervision groups, where we discuss our experiences. The people in trainings can then come in touch with real therapy experience. Most of the students attend to the introductory training of Person centred approach. There is also a possibility to participate in other groups – encounter group, bodywork group. Whatever comes up, whatever is invented.
What is the difference between the groups? The typical way of groupwork in PCA is the encounter group, where people come together and are limited only by the time frame. You try to respect the rules and ideas of the person centred approach – to be yourself and listen to others. Whatever comes up people discuss and it is generally a big experience. In bodywork group, I have developed on my own a way of accompanying the client just physically – with few words or without words. I try to be with the person without talking, without touching, just accompanying the process that’s going on, allowing the person to have contact with herself. I can also listen with words – that’s called focusing – to have the client listen to different parts of his body and see what’s going on there.
Do you provide the PCA training as well? Yes, I’m a PCA trainer, I mostly still work in France, because I don’t speak Czech. I also propose the training here, but only an introductory training in English in order to get enough people to construct the general training. General training is going on for five years and it takes more people to do it.
Was there any specific person, that brought you to Psychology? Not a specific person, but circumstances. When I was a child, I was automatically brought into the Catholic church and worked there as a ministrant. It was not only about the work around the mass. As a group of boys, we were doing many activities together and there had to be someone responsible for the group. So when I was sixteen, I started to participate in trainings to be a group leader. At the beginning of seventies it was quite wild. We have tried a lot of different things to push the group, to explore people’s experiences and it was much more interesting for me than indoctrination in family or church. Finally, I was more interested in those trainings, than in any activities with the younger children. It was very nice to have a group, to help other boys make some modelling or go outside with them, but it was not at all my thing. My thing was to work with the people that want to care for. Immediately I felt, that I was more made to be an educator for educators.
That’s why I started the group dynamics trainings in Germany. The only thing I didn’t like was, that they were very structured. I had to manipulate the team during the training and make them to be this or that and I didn’t like it that way. Then during the studies I discovered Carl Rogers and I instantly knew, this is what I wanted to do.