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Meaning in life – what is it and how to address it?

Welcome to a two days seminar in Psychology of Religion 30 and 31 January.


30.01.2020 - 09:00 to 31.01.2020 - 16:00


Price, incl. lunch: 1500 NOK

Register here

Nadia Sand

Today we can see a growing interest in the question of meaning in life. Increasingly, people express their experience of life as meaningless or without direction. At the same time research shows that meaningfulness is associated with health, well-being, social inclusion and engagement.

The purpose of this two days seminar is to explore how meaning in life can be understood and unfolded by using qualitative and quantitative approaches. Different worldviews (religious, spiritual, secular) will be described related to meaning-making processes.

The “Sources of Meaning Card Method” (SoMe CaM) will be introduced, a new method for identifying personal sources of meaning in health care or pastoral care. Participants will learn about the method’s application and interpretation, and have the chance to exercise. 

The presentation of meaning in life and the sources of meaning is based on research and evidence from both quantitative and qualitative studies in Europe, including Scandinavian countries, as well as other continents. The card method is also derived from this research and has proved to be useful in clinical exploration of patients’ systems of meaning-making when facing chronic illness or changes in basic life premises.

Dr Tatjana Schnell is Associate Professor at University of Innsbruck/Austria and Adjunct Professor at MF in Oslo. 
Her research deals with the conceptualization and assessment of existential questions and their practical significance for individuals, organizations, and society.
She is Co-Editor of the Journal of Happiness Studies and author of numerous publications.


Dr Peter la Cour is Danish, a specialist in health psychology and has worked clinically with the integration of existential themes in client relations.
His special interest concerns the introduction of concepts of meaning and other existential perspectives into the modern understanding of health and healthcare.



Day 1: Researching Meaning

09.10 – 10.20 From religion to implicit religiosity to meaning: Sacred concern (Tatjana Schnell)

10.20 – 10.35 Break

10.35 – 11.30 The Meaning Making Matrix: Mapping belief systems (Peter la Cour)                 

11.30 – 12.30 Lunch

12:30 – 14.00   Atheist spirituality and secular meaning (Tatjana Schnell)

14.00 – 14.15  Break

14.15 – 15.30 Personal sources of meaning: Laddering (Tatjana Schnell)

15.30 – 16.00 Final Discussion and Summing up (Tatjana Schnell & Peter la Cour)


Day 2: Practicing conversation on meaning: The SoMeCaM card method

09.10 – 10.20 The clinical challenge of existential talks (Peter la Cour)

10.20 – 10.35 Break

10.35 – 12.00  The SoMe framework: Identification and description of sources of meaning, relation to personality (Tatjana Schnell)

12.00 – 13.00  Lunch

13.00 – 14.00  The SoMe in Norway and Denmark; Development of the SoMeCam card method (Peter la Cour)

14.00 – 15.00  Exercise: Trying out the SoMeCam (Peter la Cour)

15.00 – 15.30  Supervision and feedback on the method (Peter la Cour)

15.30 – 16.00  Evaluation, final questions, summing up (Peter la Cour & Tatjana Schnell)


Kurset er godkjent av:

  • Norsk fysioterapiforbund ved fornyelse av spesialitet (12 timer). Kurset kan også benyttes i en spesialistoppbygging sammen med en mastergrad (12 timer) 
  • Norsk Ergoterapeutforbund godkjenner som generelt kurs meritterende med 15 timer til ergoterapispesialist, eller som spesialistspesifikt kurs meritterende med 15 timer til ergoterapispesialist innen psykisk helse.
  • Norsk psykologforening godkjenner som 12 timers vedlikeholdsaktivitet.