Meaning Conference 2006

April 21, 2012

The 4th Biennial International Meaning Conference was held July 20-23, 2006 in Vancouver, Canada with the theme “Addiction, Meaning, and Spirituality.”

The theme of addictions was timely and important as it affects every family, taking a village to support a recovering addict or alcoholic. The conference focused on achieving “new-life” epiphany and seeing the big picture on the road to recovery and teaching micro and macro skills to enhance effectiveness of prevention, treatment, and recovery.

This conference included special welcomes from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canadian Minister of Health Tony Clement, and Premier of BC Gordon Campbell. As well, the INPM’s Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Irmeli Ivalo-Sjölie, PhD for outstanding contributions to advancing Logotherapy and Meaning-Centered Counselling; Stanton Peele, JD, PhD for outstanding contributions to the understanding and treatment of addiction; and George E. Vaillant, MD for outstanding contributions to addiction research and positive psychology. As well, the INPM’s Award of Excellence was given to Karen Turner for outstanding leadership in the field of addictions.

Keynote speakers included Jim Byrnes, an American-born actor and musician long in Canada, G. Alan Marlatt, PhD, Linda Mercadante, PhD, Stanton Peele, JD, PhD, J. Scott Tonigan, PhD, George E. Vaillant, MD, and Jeffrey Zeig, PhD. Invited speakers included Alexander Batthyany, PhD, Kenneth Hart, PhD, Dmitry Leontiev, PhD, Gary Nixon, PhD, Jaak Panksepp, PhD, Alan Parry, PhD, Nancy Reeves, PhD, Francis F. Seeburger, PhD, and Mark Tyndall, MD.

Presentations included a special Templeton Symposium and symposiums on the Action Project Method as well as alcoholism and spirituality and religion, seven pre-conference workshops, 21 conference-proper workshops, along with several paper and poster sessions.

Sponsors included Karen Turner, Manager of the Maple Ridge Treatment Centre; Dr. Akbar Bayanzadeh, Addictions Leader for the Fraser Health Authority and Addictions Planning Division; the John Templeton Foundation; Trinity Western University; as well as the Angels Community Support Network, British Columbia Association for Play Therapy, Centre for Addiction Research of BC at the University of Victoria, Dundee Wealth Management, Hilton Vancouver Metrotown, Kennedy Recordings, Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute, Milton H. Erickson Foundation, Silver Health Products, Viktor Frankl Institute (Vienna), and Joshua Wong.

Download the full conference program here.

Welcome Letters

From Gordon Campbell, Premiere, British Columbia

As Premier of the Province of British Columbia, I am pleased to welcome everyone to Vancouver and the Addiction, Meaning and Spirituality conference. I am also pleased to extend a special welcome to everyone who has travelled from within and out of the province to be here. I understand that this year’s conference will host renowned researchers and clinicians from all over the world, providing a valuable opportunity for everyone to meet, gain new knowledge and discuss important issues on prevention, treatment and recovery of addiction.

I would like to recognize all those from the International Network on Personal Meaning, as well as the sponsors and volunteers, for their work in coordinating this event. The agenda offers everyone access to information on a variety of interesting topics and I am sure there will be a lot of constructive discussions.

On behalf of the people of British Columbia, welcome to Vancouver. I am sure the conference will be a great success and beneficial to all who attend.

From Tony Clement, Minister of Health, Canada

I am pleased to recognize the International Network on Personal Meaning as it convenes its 4th international conference, and I welcome all delegates to Canada and Vancouver.

This Conference reminds us that addiction – whether it involves alcohol, drugs and other substances, or tobacco – has major consequences and touches many lives on many levels. The impact of addiction is indeed far reaching. It goes beyond the individual, affecting families, communities, the public health and legal systems, and the economy.

This Conference also reminds us of the importance of dialogue and knowledge-sharing in meeting our shared goal – helping people overcome their struggles and live an addiction-free life.

Please accept my best wishes for a productive and successful conference.

From George Abbott, Minister of Health, British Columbia

On behalf of the government of British Columbia, I am pleased to send greetings to the participants in the Addiction, Meaning and Spirituality conference and to welcome you to Vancouver. This government has long recognized addictions as a health issue. BC is proud of the strides we have made in integrated mental health and addictions services and supports that meet the health needs of our communities. We have drawn on the best practices to promote a compassionate and effective response to problematic substance use and addictions in our communities and to support individuals and their families in the recovery process. As participants in this international conference you will have the opportunity to share your experience and your expertise and to examine the current evidence in addictions care and its application.


From Alexander Batthyany, PhD (University of Vienna, AU)

Yesterday night, I arrived back in Vienna and, guess what, I already miss your company and the company of the many, many nice colleagues I came to know and the friends I made during these remarkable days in Vancouver. I also relish how fast and natural our friendship grew. Just as if it was to be (thanks to Irmeli). I would like to thank you for being such superb hosts and for nourishing it in so many ways (scientifically, personally, and not to forget the tasty and mouthwatering menus). To sum it all up in one word: it was a personally inspiring and scientifically important conference and I am looking forward to our growing and continuing friendship and collaboration between INPM and the Viktor Frankl Institute Vienna. Thanks again and my best greetings (also from the Frankl-Family which joins me in sending you cordial greetings).

From Kenneth E. Hart, PhD (Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Windsor, ON)

Congratulations on hosting a successful conference! I’m writing to say my attendance and involvement in the sessions was both edifying and enjoyable. It refreshing to see people smile at an academic symposium. The shared enthusiasm was clear to see and refreshing. My impression was that the delegates all shared a strong sense of mission and purpose. I felt privileged to share company with the special breed of delegates you were able to attract. The delegates consisted of a heterogeneous group, which was a strength. I liked the opportunity to understand different world views and to build bridges and cross disciplinary boundaries. If we are to advance viable solutions to the problem of addictions, so much integration needs to be done to close gaps. In this regard, I feel the conference helped bring stakeholders that much closer. Personally, I found the experience to be valuable from a personal and professional standpoint. Attending the sessions enhanced my knowledge and competence as a scholar and researcher. I also found the opportunity to informally interact with other delegates during the lunches and dinners to be beneficial. During the informal sessions meant for socializing, I gave and received a number of business cards from delegates who shared common values. Thanks for providing a wonderful opportunity to network with others concerned with the three-way intersection of addiction, meaning and spirituality. If everyone benefited as I did, you should feel very satisfied that such a high level of value was added. Speaking personally, my welfare has been enhanced by attending and participating in the Vancouver experience. I’m grateful you had the vision to host such a specialized conference and that you followed through with all your hard work. Congratulations on being a trailblazer. Again, I extend my sincere thanks to you and everyone on the organizing committee for a job well done! It all came together because you were able to work in harmony together in a unified team effort. Bravo!

From Anthony E. Brown, MD, MPH (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX)

It was a privilege to meet all of you at the Vancouver “Addiction, Meaning, and Spirituality? Conference. It was an excellent and well-organized conference with insightful keynote speakers and presenters. I want to thank all of you for organizing this great program and for the opportunity to present a poster there.

From William F. Evans, PhD (James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA)

It was such a pleasure to meet Paul and Lilian, and to experience firsthand the vision, faith, compassion and determination they both have for INPM! I truly enjoyed the conference – Paul brought in some truly inspiring speakers, and Cindy and I met some wonderful people affiliated with INPM. I look forward to our ongoing friendship!

From Zvi Bellin, PhD Candidate (Loyola University, Baltimore, MD)

I wanted to thank you for your work to put the Meaning Conference together. Both professionally and personally, I was thrilled with the experience. It was a way to really claim my interest in the field of meaning-making and get to connect with the latest buzz from the field. I was also pleasantly surprised to see the extent of overlap between the fields of meaning and spirituality. I am really excited to begin my dissertation journey next semester and dive into this field of meaning, focusing on the transcendent aspects of meaning.

From Pam Meredith Scarfone

What a wonderful conference and wonderful people. I thought the conference had diverse topics, lively debate, talented speakers, and compassionate people obviously full of commitment to their work and the field. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to participate. Thank you again, I will always remember the hippo!