47th North European Conference for Counselling, Therapy and Theology

January 3rd to 7th, 2018

Sankelmark (near Flensburg, Germany)


“Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.”.

Genesis 49, 22

We build walls. Walls for shelter and safety. Walls to keep out anything that might threaten us, be it hostility or doubt. Every wall has two sides, the inner including and the outer excluding side, so building walls keeps life safe and simple. So it appears. Unless the wall is a prison. Unless you are trapped behind the wall by force or by fear, blocked from moving, reaching, or even looking out into the complex insecure exposed world. Even the inner side of a wall has an ambivalence to it, shield and imprisonment.

Walls can be built of bricks or prejudice and orthodoxy. The work of British artist Greyson Perry was last year exhibited in Aarhus under the title ”Hold your beliefs lightly”. His art is an unorthodox myriad of stories, beauty, ugliness and humour, exploring all kinds of visual art in brilliant techniques. The main feature of the exhibition were giant tapestries growing wildly over the museum walls.

Hold your beliefs lightly. Leave breathing holes for doubt. Leave cracks in your wall for the vine to get at grip. Leave it for beauty. Leave it for making its strong branches climb out into the open.

This year's Bible quote is Genesis 49, 22

“Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.”

The vine finds a grip and climbs even the highest and hardest wall. All it takes is a seed, a little nourishment and a drop of rain.

Invited are pastors, physicians, therapists, practitioners of the helping professions, teachers and publishers.


Pastor Leise Christensen, PhD (Aarhus, Denmark):

Walls of The Old Testament

In the Old Testament there are many stories about walls - safe keeping walls, walls to be torn down, walls to break through, walls to commemorate persons and happenings and other types of walls. Can these stories be used in the pastoral care of people coming to the pastor for counselling? And if yes - how then? This lecture will try to explore new paths of the old stories and try to see them in the light of pastoral care - both from personal experience, from inspiration gained over many years of studying the Old Testament and from random thoughts on these fantastic old stories.

Associate professor of Art History Hans Jørgen Frederiksen (Aarhus University, Denmark):

A wall is at boundary between inside and outside. There are walls that divide and reject, but there are also walls that symbolize or stage connections between levels of reality, between God and man. Walls that veil in order to reveal. In a sense all visual art is veiled, but this lecture will concentrate on works of art, that in particular thematise this feature.

Members of the Planning Group (Germany / Norway / Denmark / Estonia):

Word and picture Collage to conference Theme "Walls/Mauer“.


Work Groups

1. Kurt und Marie-Luise Bährle (Germany): Reconstruction therapy according to Pesso (German)

2. Bent Falk (Denmark): Gestalt Therapy and Supervision Group (English)

3. Lotta Geisler (Sweden): Bibliodrama (German/English)

4. Mariann Hagbarth (Sweden, Norway): Symboldrama - katathymes Bilderleben (English)

5. Ruth Knaup (Germany): Dance and Contact Improvisation as Creative and Therapeutic Process (English, German)

Address of Conference Center:

Akademie Sankelmark
Europäische Akademie Schleswig-Holstein
D-24988 Sankelmark, Germany
Telefon: 04630 – 550 Telefax: 04630 – 55199

Sankelmark Akademie HomePage


Conference languages are German and English; lectures and plenary sessions will be translated simultaneously. In some groups it is possible to work in ones own language; however it is necessary to understand sufficiently the announced working language of the workgroup.

Interpreter: Dorothea Kötter, Germany


Practical remarks

Please bring along your favourite notes and instruments as well as festive garments and your - marked – CDs with music for the festive evening.

You will get a Certificate of Participation; Event is accredited with the Ärzte-/Psychotherapeutenkammer.

Invitation download here:

Invitation 2018