Allow me to present myself:
Seán Gaffney, Ph.D. Irish by birth, culture and conviction, resident of Sweden since 1975. Gestalt therapist, Gestalt Organisational Consultant, trainer and supervisor of both. University lecturer in Cross-cultural management and International Organisational Behaviour. Member of a number of Gestalt therapy associations, which is where I originally met the other three colleagues here, and all four of us are members of the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy (NYIGT), the original institute founded in 1952.
As a lapsed Catholic with occasional stirrings, I may very well have noticed the name Edith Stein in the Irish Times, for example, which I read on a daily basis. Though the meeting which has inspired me to want to know more was rather strange: a former student of mine from the Stockholm School of Economics phoned me this spring in a panic. Her doctoral thesis was ready for the printer but the English-speaking copy-editor was suddenly indisposed and she needed someone to read her thesis and remove at least the more distracting linguistic errors. And so I found myself reading a strange thesis on the economics of primary health care and WHO infrastructures in the light of the psychology of Edith Stein. Economics is not my field, and I found myself far more interested in reading about Edith. So I immediately Googled her of course, and here we are today.
Another strange connection, and very powerful: Edith died in August, 1942. I was born in August, 1942. My youngest son, Dara, died of leukemia in 1986. He died on August 9, the same date as Edith. So this year they will be sharing an anniversary which I intend to celebrate.
My primary interest in the Edith Stein Study Group is to get to know her better, as a person and as a philosopher/psychologist. I want to see what I can understand better about Gestalt therapy as well as the individual’s place in the world and in society.