Tribute to Humberto Maturana
I remember a trip by train from Zurich to St Gallen in Switzerland, a clear sky evening and Ciccio – Humberto Maturana – who tells stories looking at the full moon shining in the sky. It was February 1987. With his soothing voice, full attention, intensity and wonder he tries to explain to me the reflexivity concept. We met by chance at the train station, we are both going to a meeting organized by Gilbert Probst, systemic thinker then economist at the Ginevra University. At the arrival Heinz von Foerster, Gordon Pask and Ernst von Glasersfeld had come to greet us. Four days together with never ending discussions, personal anecdotes and evidences of their cybernetic common passion. I felt very privileged to be with them.
I remember his conferences, he always asked for a blackboard in order to draw on a top corner the eye of the observer; with his nervous writing he would then fill the board up with circular scribbles under the enthusiastic amazement of the people who had come to listen to him. I remember when he came to the Milan Center – I don’t remember which year – creased and intense. The students were astounded to meet in person the author of the difficult books they were “forced” to read for their training: apparently easy to follow in person, but so profound that you could not sleep after having listened to his reasoning. Then I met him many other times around systemic conferences, the last at the Milan Expo in 2015 at the Chilean pavilion, where he was the honorary guest and had invited the Milan team, meeting with Pietro Barbetta and Jacky Boscolo.
A fascinating man, intense – the word spread that he had admirers in every city around the world where he stopped – coherent to himself and ready to surprise and enchant with the recursive operations he used to propose. Each encounter was the coordination of the coordination of actions and meanings for him, love the only occasion to allow an exchange of information: “Love is the emotion that organizes the social reality, without the acceptance of the other in coexistence there is no social process” he used to affirm.
Humberto Maturana, biologist, philosopher and writer has died the 6th of May this year, he was 92 years old (born the 14th of September 1928). National prize for science in Chile, Nobel prize candidate, he had founded the neurobiology laboratory at the University of Chile, where he used to live. For a long time he collaborated with Francisco Varela with which he wrote Autopoiesis and cognition (1972) and The tree of knowledge (1985). They both were often guests at the Biological Computer Laboratory in Urbana Michigan, founded by Heinz von Foerster.
Fritjof Capra and Peter Senge considered him their master, so did the Dalai Lama- of which Humberto was an interlocutor for many conversations in Dharamsala in India. At the beginning of the XXI century he founded with his companion Ximena Dàvila the Matristic Association (https://main.matriztica.org/) with the aim to collaborate to form an ethic society. “Human beings are the result of the cooperation for conservation, not of the fight for survival: bio-evolutionary wise we exist because we love- he used to say with conviction.
We all loved him, we will miss him a lot, but his seeds are very well rooted within each systemic thinker.
Response to Covid-19 and the ongoing effects of the global pandemic
While the pandemic remains a global health emergency that we must be aware of in our daily lives to keep ourselves, our clients, colleagues, and students safe, we are entering a phase of living with a level of disease and also trying to emerge from lockdown in a safe way. What we know for sure is that the economic impact of the virus will be felt by the economically disadvantaged nations and the most vulnerable groups within our societies. The virus has challenged us to redefine our relationships with technology, travel, and the physical spaces that we inhabit in our home and working environments. Many of our members will be returning to a changed working environment with less resources but many more demands as families struggle to come to terms with a future that was not expected could not be predicted. The lesson of history teaches us that a global pandemic has an impact on the mental health and emotional resilience of whole nations. You will see from the notifications on our website that systemic therapists are uniquely placed and have begun to document, research, and comment on this in the public and professional sphere.
On behalf of the EFTA board
Monica Whyte Read more…
Digital Systemic Practices in Europe: a Survey before the Covid-19 Pandemic
Some suggestions for Optimizing and Continuing Training in a time of Crisis
EFTA Board and EFTA Training Standards subcommittee have decided that in these times of the Corona virus we have an important opportunity for sharing information on Training in Family Therapy. The current pandemic calls for EFTA to consider how best we can help our members and ourselves.
These brief points aim to initiate discussion and reflection on the developments and to facilitate to learn from each other across Institutes and countries.
We welcome and strongly encourage comments and proposals strengthening the EFTA voice during this crisis. Read more
EFTA and Coronavirus Crisis
The entire world and Europe especially, is currently experiencing a crisis caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic that is testing a set of essential systems in modern society:
Public Health as an intervention system, the group of Elderly People with many special characteristics and as an important risk group, the Economic and Social System that faces internal structural changes of great consequences in the immediate future, the Family System that faces a relationship game with confinement measures that tests internal relationships, allowing to discover not only the difficulties that already existed but also many resilient capacities that create new relational futures, the Education and Training Systems that open many new networks of group work, work with Populations at Risk of Exclusion and work situations with the Immigrant Population with workers who face with great dedication and creativity the day-to-day of emergencies, Protection Systems such as the Police and Firefighters who are become messengers and agents for the respect of the interventions ones programmed.
Facing the consequences at the Individual Psychological Level of the changes that are taking place and facing Grief as a reality in many particular situations, Research and reflection on the implementation of Intervention Programs and many other things.
When we find all these realities today we are talking about crises, systems, communication and relationships, individual group and psychological structures, families, research and training programs, etc.
To speak and confront all this is to gather the essentials of systemic-relational thinking and systemic family work.
We are talking about what is the heart of an association like ours, the EFTA which is also located in Europe: France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Belgium, United Kingdom, Ireland, Hungary, Croatia, Holland, Denmark, Poland, Serbia , Lithuania, Czechia, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Norway, Sweden …
This is our reality in the present times, we are there and we must do it expressing our solidarity and closeness with those most affected and with those who are giving their all to face this crisis and we must also be able to open the paths of change that this crisis situation is generating. To do this, I would suggest that a letter of solidarity and closeness with those most affected by this situation could be present on our website and that Cim members could find a space where they can suggest ways of intervention for specific situations that could be collected and developed in a near future.
Crises allow us to discover capacities for change and this is essential in our association, at EFTA.
A big hug to everyone without risk of contagion.
Juan Antonio Abeijon
EFTA-CIM Board Member
AAMFT’s At Home series is a new free series featuring some of the most innovative systemic thinkers sharing their insights from past cases, developmental work in various specialties, and professional anecdotes and personal reflections – from the comfort of their own homes to you in yours. Never before has our profession faced such unique challenges and we hope you will join us as we reconnect in our most intimate settings around what makes systemic therapy so fundamental to today’s realities and tomorrow’s future.
Information Read more…
Borcsa, Maria & Pomini, Valeria (Eds.)(in prep.).
E-couple and family therapy (E-CFT):
Digital systemic practices in therapy, supervision and training.
EFTA Book Series 7. Springer International
The COVID-19 epidemic is rapidly changing the way systemic family and couple therapists are providing support and therapy according with the restrictive measures adopted in most European countries in the last weeks (“stay at home”).
Digital technologies are offering more than ever to individuals and families vital spaces of communication, information and sharing.
We believe that it is important to share experiences and provide future guidelines to systemic practitioners how to respond to the needs of offering at distance support, therapy, supervision and training across European countries.
Help EFTA grow!
- Encourage professionals, Training Institutes and National Federations you consider eligible to join. (Refer to the websites of the 3 Chambers for membership categories and criteria).
- Promote EFTA to students and trainees, supporting them to apply for associate membership.