The first Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology was held over Easter weekend in 1943 at the Friends Meeting House in Haddonfield, New Jersey. In the shadow of WWII, one of our founding members, Elined Kotschnig, wrote:
“Gradually out of the very extremity of the darkness, pin-points of light and understanding were seen glimmering here and there in a counter movement to the vortex of devastation and degradation we had been sucked down into.”
FCRP CORE VALUES
Our guest speaker develops the Conference theme in four plenary sessions (informal talks) over the four-day period. Within our nonjudgmental and retreat-like environment, we can open ourselves to the speaker’s message and its personal resonance in our lives. The small group workshops use discussion, art materials, writing, dreams, and body work to process and integrate insights. Throughout the weekend, community builds as well through informal sharing at meals and in free time.
Our approach has been historically Jungian but in recent years has focused more on the Jungian concept of individuation. We all have the capacity to find wholeness, to find more of what we are and in that way have more to contribute to the world around us. Yearly speaker topics have ranged from dealing with aging, with trauma, healing our environment and the natural world, neural networks, and the connection between body, mind and spirit.
We also sponsor a smaller and shorter Conference, WFCRP, which meets in the Washington DC area in February, mid-winter. It, again, is a chance to be part of an on-going spiritual community bringing light to the dark time of the year.
Elinid Kotschnig trained as an analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich in the mid-1930s and was part of a Quaker study group in Geneva that examined similarities between Quakerism and Jungian psychology. At a four-hour tea in his garden, Jung and the group discussed the affinity between Jung’s conviction that spiritual growth began with the journey inward to the unconscious and the Quaker conviction that focus on the Inner Light provided direction. This foundation continues to be a springboard for FCRP’s exploration of the Life of the Spirit through the inward journey—a journey which embraces disciplines beyond psychology and the Quaker faith.
You can find out more about FCRP's origins in this article from the conference's 75th Anniversary.